Warm­ing wa­ters in Nova Sco­tia killing kelp for­est

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

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.

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