The aim of this study was to determine the effects of artificial plants on the density of 3 sea urchin species in sea urchin-dominated areas and the survival of adult giant kelp transplanted into sea urchin-dominated areas. The study evaluated whether artificial plants could be used for protection and restoration of giant kelp forests in southern California.
Site Selection Criteria:
A site was selected in an urchin barren where Macrocystis beds had existed historically.
Cause Of Decline:
Forests of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) provide substrate, food and habitat for a wide variety of marine organisms, and support fisheries for fin fish, invertebrates and kelp. Forests of giant kelp also provide the basis for an alginate industry which has sales exceeding US$230 million annually. Sea urchins that live in forests of giant kelp typically feed on kelp debris that drifts down from the forest. However when sea urchins become abundant, they can have devastating effects on populations of marine plants, including giant kelps.