California’s Kelp Forest Flourishes

Posted by Christine, September 22, 2010

Wayne Blicha has been harvesting giant kelp (Macrocystis) on the Central Coast for more than 10 years for the Abalone Farm Inc. in Cayucos. He has never seen such a heavy surface canopy of this marine algae before. Giant kelp can grow at the unbelievable rate of 1 to 2 feet per day!

“Usually the peak growing season for giant kelp occurs in April through May during the height of the upwelling season, but this year, the peak growing season seems to be extended into August,” he said.

Jim Kelly, a marine biologist at Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, said that this year has been well above average for kelp and other marine algae growth.

“Bull kelp (Nereocystis) is a large kelp species that is closely related to giant kelp and has also been flourishing along our coast,” adds Scott Kimura, a marine biologist with Tenera Environmental, a local consulting firm.

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This column is written by John Lindsey, meteorologist for Pacific Gas & Electric, which is his first loyalty. However, no one else has written about the obvious kelp forest growth. He has the advantage of having access to PG&E’s meteorological information from Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant.

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