Despite the unrivaled beauty of the California coast line, UC Davis scientists say that just below the surface, the famous Kelp Forest is in serious trouble due to warmer ocean temperatures.

The kelp wave majestically under the water, supplying a critical link to the ocean ecosystem. Dr. Laura Rodgers-Bennett, a Senior Marine Scientist at the UC Davis-Bodega Marine Laboratory, has studied the kelp for more than 20 years.

“We’re seeing here in NorCal this huge decline in the Kelp Forest, and the Kelp Forest is much like the trees on land. They’re the homes and food for all kinds of marine organisms,” Rodgers-Bennett said.

She says climate change in the form of warmer water has allowed several factors to hurt the kelp buy; mainly, it’s little purple sea urchins that have decimated the kelp. They eat everything in sight, similar to goats eating grassy hills barren.

“It’s more difficult for people to visualize if you’re not a diver, but we are seeing 90% of the Kelp from San Francisco to southern Oregon has declined,” Rodgers-Bennett said.

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