Inter-Research > MEPS > v537 > feature  
Marine Ecology Progress Series

via Mailchimp
The giant kelp forest canopy is alive with fishes and invertebrates. Here, senoritas Oxyjulis californica are seen feeding on small invertebrates in the kelp.

Koenigs C, Miller RJ, Page HM


Top predators rely on carbon derived from giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera



Foundation species like giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) provide shelter and food for myriad species. Koenigs and co-authors examined the diet and carbon stable isotope composition of fishes living in the kelp forest canopy to address how much they relied on kelp-derived food sources. Suspension feeders that consume phytoplankton were the most important food source for canopy fishes. However, small invertebrates that graze on giant kelp were also an important food source, accounting for about 40% of the diet of three of the six fish species, and their importance was positively related to fish trophic level. This suggests that giant kelp plays a unique ecological role that could not be easily replaced by another algal species or an artificial reef.


Abstract   Back to contents page   Link to full PDF