Project: Kelp Forest Project

Assessing the role of fish in kelp forests and rocky reefs

There is a widespread perception that the healthier an ecosystem is, the more species it will have (1). This way of understanding nature focuses on defining which species are present without explaining their role in the ecosystem. An approach focusing on species’ functions seeks to identify the components of diversity that influence ecosystem performance (2)....

Counting fish in the kelp forests of Baja California

Kelp forests are the submerged counterparts of rain forests and are among the most productive ecosystem in the world. A complex three-dimensional habitat structured by the kelp that can grow up to 30 meters, and reach the sea surface. Understory macroalgae attached to the sea bottom provide habitat and refuge for many species, including those economically...

Kelp Forest Project: What is Kelp Forest Project Program?

The Kelp Forests Ecology Group (KFEG).
Since 2011, a group of scientists and students from UABC (Universidad Autónoma de Baja California) in Ensenada, Mexico, have established a program to monitor the kelp forest ecosystems of Baja California. The objectives of the monitoring are to understand variations in space and time of the fish, macroinvertebrates and macroalgae communities inhabiting the kelp forests. The group looks for common patterns in the abundance and size of different taxonomic groups that play important ecological roles in the ecosystem or have a commercial importance in the region. This helps the team understand how the communities are structured. The monitoring program represents the leading fishery independent data source for Baja’s kelp communities. The group aims to provide information to decision-makers in order to help direct the management and conservation of Baja’s kelp forests. Kelp forests are the most productive marine ecosystems in the region, therefore the data gathered is of paramount importance if Baja’s coastal marine ecosystems are to be used responsibly and sustainably.


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