Creature Feature: Look for this dying giant on the beaches this fall and winter

Bull kelp is an integral part of the marine ecosystem found right off our coasts here along the San Francisco Bay area.

In particular, it provides shelter and food for many marine species. The populations of the sea urchins, sea otters and bull kelp are interestingly intricately intertwined. An overpopulation of sea urchins can decimate a bull kelp forest by overgrazing. However, sea otters, which prey on sea urchins, help keep the urchin population in check resulting in healthy bull kelp forests.

Since bull kelp is an annual plant look for it to start washing up along the beaches in the fall and winter, as it begins to die off for the season. These dead pieces also provide shelter and food for animals. To learn more about bull kelp, please read this week's Creature Feature.

Denise Mohsenin serves as the link between Marine Science Institute and the education community. She enjoys helping schools and teachers bring marine science and environmental literacy to their students. Her current favorite fish for teaching is the starry flounder. Ask her why at

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