Devastating kill offs of seaweed off the West Australia Coast are a sign of the challenges we will face with Climate Change. Seaweed benefits efforts to understand changes as an indicator of rising sea level temperatures.
Between 2010 and 2013, large stretches of kelp forests off the western Australian coast were devastated by high sea temperatures. This report was published in the journal Science in July 2016. Since this destruction, the kelp forests are now tropical and sub-tropical ecosystems of turf algae, corals and coral fish. This type of change is very significant as kelp forests have a variety of seaweed species and offer habitat for many more organisms.
The heat wave wiped out 963 square kilometers in a short time period. Prior to this event, kelp forests covered over 70% of shallow rocky reefs in midwest Australia. Survey data revealed that a total of 43% of these forests disappered two years after the extreme heat wave.
The research team are concerned that there are no signs of kelp forests recovery. However, the marine life that replaced the kelp forests is apparently doing very well.
Aside from being a possible indicator of rising sea levels and climat change, there are many other seaweed benefits.
As a sustainable natural resource, with immense nutritional properties, seaweed benefits food and dietary supplement markets. No land plants can compete with seaweed benefits on a gram for gram basis. Specific nutritional benefits of seaweed are the mineral content, including iodine.
Seaweed benefits salt reduction efforts too as a natural flavour enhancer that means less salt may be needed within a wide variety of products.
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