Why is bull kelp necessary?

Why is bull kelp necessary?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Something has happened to the kelp on the north end

Tonight I went for a ride on "Kelpie" to inspect the kelp on the north end of the island. I examined all plants between Lavender Bay and Entrance Island and was surprised to see that almost all bull kelp in the area have lost their blades. They are balder than I am - and that's not an easy thing to do!

The one plant that did have something remaining looked like this, and I am suspicious that something has been grazing on the surface, but have no idea what could do that. I did notice a large number of large Lion's Mane Jellyfish in the area.

This is somewhat worrisome given that when we mapped this area on August 3 2013 most of the plants had a full set of blades - and no sori were visible. I don't know how fast sori develop and drop spores. Does anyone know the answer to this question?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Alternative raft design

Like the raft idea, but definitely not the PVC. Websites showing the many reasons why it is not a good idea for the ocean and for our kelp babies. Below an idea I hatched using the raft concept. Of course all the bulbs would have sori rich blades.



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Help the Kelp profiled on CHEK TV News

On August 6 2013 I had a visit from CHEK TV to talk about our project. Here's a link to the news clip.

Story in Nanaimo Daily News: Log booms trap kelp off Gabriola; Essential part of food chain, ecology

In an August 5 2013 article in the Nanaimo Daily News by Ben Ingram, Help the Kelp is profiled. Ben wrote:
Log booms along the shores of Nanaimo's Duke Point and Gabriola Island may be destroying vital kelp habitats.
Residents on the island working to create a map of the area's bull kelp say they discovered dead zones they believe are caused by log booms.
Kelp is an essential part of the food chain and shoreline ecology. Its nutrients can be traced from sea urchins to sea birds.
Michael Mehta is the co-ordinator of Help the Kelp, the group that has been mapping kelp around the area of Gabriola Island.
To read the full story click here.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Bull Kelp Canopies Fully Mapped Around Gabriola Island

Yesterday a team of kelpers including Raquel, Nancy, Victor and Michael completed the last phase of mapping and finished between Twin Beaches and the Whalebone area. You'll see from the composite map below that there are notable gaps in kelp coverage and density.

Next steps: flesh out details for maps with polygons and lines based on GPS waypoints; incorporate notes on temperature and other observations; and then, identify good areas for replanting this year.


Friday, August 2, 2013

A cast of underwater characters

On July 21 2013 I was joined by kelp helper Liam Coleman and dive master Nelson Quiroga from Vancouver on a journey below the water off Gabriola Island (nearby Carlos Island). Below are some photos of the dive with a brief description of each.

This is what healthy and almost mature bull kelp looks like underwater

The Sea Cucumber plays an important role in eating detritus on the bottom of the ocean so that young kelp can take hold in the area

Here's a herbivore - the Sea Urchin. It eats kelp!

This large creature is a Sun Star. It eats urchins.

And here is one of the apex predators - Liam Coleman :-)

Article in Nanaimo News Bulletin: "Google Earth used to track kelp forests"

In an article by Tamara Cunningham with the Nanaimo News Bulletin, Help the Kelp's work is profiled. Tamara wrote the following:

Citizen scientists are using Google Earth to track disappearing ‘underwater forests’ along the coastline of Gabriola Island.
Help the Kelp – a volunteer organization of citizen scientists – has been carefully plotting beds of bull kelp on Google Earth this summer to help track the trend of disappearing marine habitat.

To read the full article click here.