The kelp forest

The kelp forest is a very interesting environment. Along the Norwegian coast vast areas are dominated by kelp forest mainly encompassed by Laminaria hyperborea. Rich in biological diversity and not very much studied, compared to soft bottom shelf sediments, the kelp forest is very interesting to explore.

Together with Geir Johnsen and Jussi Evertsen I will dive into the kelp forest and try to elucidate whereabouts of this environment. From time to time we dive into it quite literally, but from a research perspective setting up smaller projects for master students is what we have done so far.

In one study Hanne Kile Andersen looked at the gastropod fauna on two species of kelp (Laminaria hyperborea and Saccorhiza polyschides) and compared sampling and imaging techniques. She found it was a considerable loss of knowledge if only using imaging compared to sampling, and imaging can not be justified as sole method in assessments of biodiversity.

Another study took the advantage of DNA barcoding. Lene Lund compared Laminaria digitata in the Trondheimsfjord and Svalbard which revealed different species and high morphological plasticity. This makes it challenging to get positive identifications in the field from morphology alone in Svalbard.

Kelp forest from a study site at Hitra with Laminaria hyperborea and Saccorhiza polyschides.  Photo: Geir Johnsen.
Kelp forest from a study site at Hitra with Laminaria hyperborea and Saccorhiza polyschides. Photo: Geir Johnsen.

References

Andersen HK. 2011. Gastropods associated with Laminaria hyperborea and Saccorhiza polyschides in a Norwegian kelp forest: comparison of sampling and in situ imaging techniques. Master thesis. Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet.

Lund L. 2014. Morphological diversity in Laminaria digitata – different species or different phenotypes? Master thesis. Norwegian University of Science and Technology.