California Kelp Forest Ecology

The kelp forest is a dynamic ecosystem that we are fortunate to have right in our backyard. With our CMIL facilities, we have easy boat and diving access that allows us to perform monthly sampling series as well as regular experiments. The kelp forest is a constant source of questions. We have shown the composition and density of marine microbes impacts the survival and growth of baby kelp spores. We have also shown kelp forest microbes are influenced by changes in temperature and CO2 expected in climate change models. It is important to understand these interactions as microbes cycle large proportions of carbon through the microbial loop. We are also examining the interaction between microbes and the process of kelp decomposition as this is a primary food source for many marine organisms.