35 years of Satellite Imagery shares the Kelp Cognizance


  • A study about Kelp, its presence in North California in the Kelp forests of Oregon
  • How Climatic Changes affect Kelp?
  • Is Kelp on the verge of extinction?

Kelp is an algae sea-wood heterokont that supports a diverse range of sea creatures. It is a natural and productive habitat for fish and helps in protecting the coastline from wave damage. At Oregon State University, the captured satellite imagery of 35 years tells about the behavior and changes observed in Kelp due to changes in climate.

The study’s corresponding author, a marine biologist, Sara Hamilton, briefed about Kelp, that they are cold water-species and climate change affects them too. But, they are getting removed from the world, day-by-day. In northern California, the pacific coast of North America, Kelp is already showing evidence of lessening.

The combined effort of the US Geologic Survey and NASA who has been collecting the data since 1975 is known as Landsat Program, they monitored the Kelp as well in that. Hamilton further said, the technology from other fields to bring into Marine Sciences is interesting, plus studying marine is not easy as it requires professional divers who are willing to risk their lives, plus it is a costlier business. The Kelp forest of Oregon is taken into account and a lot of information gathered about them for studying purposes.

A study in 2014 showed that purple sea urchins reduced the Bull Kelp, a specie of Kelp. However, after 2014, there was no reduction noticed in bull kelp specie, that challenged the picture floating in news, which said the bull kelp is seeing a loss in the Oregon area.

The satellite imagery shows the different nature of the canopy area, each year as the climate changes. The long- term population graphs also change depending upon the reefs and areas it is situated. Different Kelps show different population ratio.

Hamilton said, “An association between bigger waves and more kelp is 100 percent outside the basic idea of what influences kelp.” The change in specie and geographic area emerges a whole new set of factors. Moreover, the Kelp is important to mankind and so people need to know, how they are changing and impacting the humankind as well.