Site: Santa Barbara Coastal LTER

Credit: Sarah Sampson

A marine heat wave of extreme magnitude and duration in 2014-15 allowed SBC LTER researchers to test predictions about the effects of climate change on kelp forests. Although kelp was diminished by the prolonged high temperature and low nitrate conditions, it rebounded quickly, and most other flora and fauna were not greatly affected. Ocean sampling revealed that ammonium and urea persisted during warm periods and experiments showed that kelp can use these recycled nitrogen sources.