Kelp Forest Information:

Many of the world's neritic zones are too cold for the growth of a coral reef with water less than 20°C. In these areas, different species of kelp (large brown algae) grow from the ocean floor, sometimes with plants as long as 150'. The water is higher in nutrients than that of the open ocean. Whales and sea lions are often found in this community. Sea otters were almost extinguished from this community along the west coast of North America due to overhunting. Their loss coincided with a complete loss of kelp forest in many areas. As it is now understood, the sea otters kept the sea urchin populations in check. Sea urchins eat kelp at the base. Without otters, the kelp forests were decimated by an overpopulation of urchins. The major producers of this ecosystem are algae, both unicellular species and the multicellular kelp. The major animals are mollusks such as the abalone, sea otters, whales, and fish of many types.

Kelp Forest, Monterey Bay Aquarium

By Fred Hsu (Wikipedia:User:Fredhsu on en.wikipedia) (Photo taken and uploaded by user) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A view of the kelp forest with fish.

By Stef Maruch (kelp-forest.jpg) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A typical coastline along the kelp forest of the California coast.

By Velela [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons.

A keystone species of the kelp forest, the sea otter.

By Mike Baird from Morro Bay, USA (sea-otter-mom-and-pup-4-16-07_2) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The intertidal zone of the kelp forest zone.

By Joshua Stone (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Kelp Forest Distribution Map:

By Maximilian Dörrbecker (Chumwa) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons