“KELP FOREST” 48x70.
Recently I have heard much about kelp through multiple sources; my recent trip down the coast of Chile, through the fjords of Patagonia, and floundering around Antarctica heightened my senses of the aquatic world as another habitat and ecosystem I should further study for inspiration. I was amazed by the variety of colors, textures, and sizes, which led to painting "Kelp Forest." I believe I will cultivate this theme.
STUFF I DID NOT KNOW
Though kelp looks like a plant, it is an alga and can some can grow up to 18” a day. Kelp forests are exceptionally biologically productive habitats for a vast range of sea creatures including fish, urchins, sea otters, sea lions, and even some whales. Because of this, kelp forests are critical for fishing and recreation industries. Sadly, overfishing disrupts the balance of kelp forests by removing predators and allowing plant-eating populations to explode and overeat the kelp, destroying the forests. Pollution, such as sediment runoff and industrial waste, also contributes to the destruction of kelp forests.
Today, many kelp forests are located in marine protected areas and studied by NOAA scientists. Kelp forests are monitored for kelp size and distribution, physical oceanic conditions, and associated life. The more that we discover about these fantastic habitats, the better they can be preserved and strengthened. Many former fishermen/women are finding that they can make a living planting kelp farms providing food and shelter for many organisms, which stabilizes and filters coastal areas. Kelp is used in the making of many commonly used products: toothpaste, shampoos, salad dressings, puddings, cakes, dairy products, frozen foods, and even pharmaceuticals, who knew?