Among the most diverse and productive habitats on Earth, kelp forests play an important role not only for their marine inhabitants, but in providing a variety of ecosystem services for human populations. Due to their three-dimensional habitat structure, they serve as shelter for many different plants and animals. Their holdfast, stipe, and blade form three distinct micro-habitats. They offer protection to many fish species and act as nursery grounds, they provide food, and they alter light, currents, sedimentation, and abrasion. Thus they support biodiversity—a study conducted in Norway found about 130 species and 8000 individuals on individual Laminaria hyperborea sporophytes.The animated illustration highlights the value of this habitat for biodiversitiy.
Sources: Teagle, Harry et al., “The role of kelp species as biogenic habitat formers in coastal marine ecosystems”, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, vol. 492, (2017): 81-98.