What Exactly Is Kelp?

Kelp is a fast-growing aquatic life form that often forms amazing forests beneath the surface of the ocean. It commonly flourishes off the Pacific Coast of North America, and it’s a vital part of the underwater ecosystem. Here are some more facts about kelp you may not know.

Kelp Isn’t a Plant


This seaweed-like life form is a brown alga, and it’s the largest known member of the Protista kingdom.

It Doesn’t Have Roots


The organism anchors itself to the ocean floor, and it extracts the nutrients it needs from the water around it.

It Does Use Photosynthesis


Similar to plants, kelp depends on sunlight to process its food source.

It Thrives in Cool, Nutrient-Rich Waters Near the Shoreline


Shallow, open water is the best environment for kelp. It rarely lives in water deeper than 131 feet, so it receives plenty of sunlight.

Kelp May Be More Than 100 Feet Long


When it reaches the water’s surface, kelp keeps growing, forming a canopy that keeps the environment cool and protected.

It Grows at Incredible Rates


In the right conditions, kelp can grow up to 18 inches in a single day.

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It Often Lives in Groups


Large masses of kelp are referred to as kelp forests because of the organisms’ tree-like structures and dense population.

Kelp Forests Provide Food and Shelter for Dozens of Animals


A variety of fish and marine mammals make their homes in kelp forests. These underwater beds are also opportune feeding grounds for various birds and aquatic creatures.

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