Warming waters in Nova Scotia killing kelp forest
HALIFAX — Once rich forests of willowy kelp that stretch along Nova Scotia’s coast have been decimated by warming water temperatures, says a marine biologist who warns that the loss could harm other species that rely on them for food.
Karen Filbee-Dexter of Dalhousie University in Halifax said Thursday that over the last three decades kelp biomass has dropped by 85 to 99 per cent in areas that stretch along 110 kilometres of coastline.
She found that water has been heating up by .06 degrees Celsius a year over the last 35 years, making the marine ecosystem a less hospitable environment for kelp. “This is one of the most important ecosystems that we have,” she said. “I’m deeply troubled by it.”
Filbee-Dexter says the steady loss of the kelp removes an important habitat for other species and has a cascading effect through the marine environment by contributing to a depletion of food sources for fish.