How a Heat Wave and Mysterious Disease Crashed California’s Kelp Forest

Posted on Categories Discover Magazine

California bull kelp. (Credit: Peggy Foreman, NOAA Fisheries)

Every year, a forest of bull kelp springs up from the ocean floor along 200 miles of California coast, fostering a regenerated, thriving ecosystem each time it appears.

But starting in 2013, this kelp forest suffered hits from several disasters. First, a mysterious and lethal disease cropped up among starfish in the area. Then, a massive heat wave stunted kelp growth. In just four years, over 90 percent of this stretch of kelp

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