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Wave Impact

For years, scientists have debated whether nutrient inputs or herbivory more influence the growth of kelp forests. SBC scientists discovered that wave disturbance is the surprising and overwhelming influence on kelp forest growth, which has important implications for how climate change may impact these sensitive and crucial coastal ecosystems.

Byrnes, J. E., D. C. Reed, B. J. Cardinale, K.C. Cavanaugh, S. J. Holbrook, and R. J. Schmitt. 2011. Climate driven increases in storm frequency simplify kelp forest food webs. Global Change Biology (in press).
Reed, D. C., A. Rassweiler, and K. K. Arkema. 2009. Density derived estimates of standing crop and net primary production in the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera. Marine Biology 156:2077-2083.
Reed, D. C., A. Rassweiler, and K. K. Arkema. 2008. Biomass rather than growth determines net primary production by giant kelp. Ecology 89:2493-2505.
Reed, D. C., A. Rassweiler, M. H. Carr, K. C. Cavanaugh, D. P. Malone, and D. A. Siegel. Wave disturbance overwhelms top-down and bottom-up control of primary production in California kelp forests. Ecology in press.
Dr. Daniel C. Reed
Giant kelp forests represent one of the most productive ecosystems on Earth and are the focus of research at the Santa Barbara Coastal LTER site.
R. McPeak
Long-term data from the Santa Barbara Coastal LTER show that despite higher densities of sea urchins (a) and lower concentrations of nutrients (b), net primary production of southern California kelp forests was double that of central California (d), which is consistent with regional differences in wave disturbance (c).
Reed et al. in press.

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