Explore The Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary


Kelp Forest
Just as the California Giant Redwood trees provide shelter for animals and defines coastal land areas where the forests grow the kelp forest in part defines the Monterey Bay Region. The kelp forests exists only in cold coastal regions. There are two species of giant kelp, the: Macroystis pyrifera (Giant Kelp) and the Nereocystis (Bull Kelp) growing in the Monterey Bay Region. Bull Kelp only live one year, however Giant Kelp can live several years. Bull Kelp are well adapted to rough waters while the Giant Kelp thrives in calmer waters.

The kelp forests supports the largest community of sea life in the Monterey Bay Region. There hundreds of animal species and over 400 types of sea plants that call the kelp forests home. It is estimated that about 500,000 sea creatures, many microscopic live on just one giant kelp plant. Kelp forests absorb and cushions wave action , the kelp also acts as a filter for tiny larvae and plankton. Combined with wave absorption and the plankton filter effect, the kelp forest is a perfect environment for young and adult fishes providing shelter and food. Giant kelp can grow as much as 18 inches a day.

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The Giant Kelp lives in the calmer waters of the bay.

Macroystis pyrifera (Giant Kelp)
Nereocystis (Bull Kelp)Macroystis