Site: Santa Barbara Coastal LTER

Credit: SBC LTER

Decades of research based on carbon stable isotope analyses supported the idea that macroalgal detritus, especially that of kelp, is a major source of food to coastal marine ecosystems, particularly suspension feeders. Comparative and experimental research from SBC LTER has overturned this paradigm, showing that phytoplankton, not kelp, are the main food resource for coastal benthic suspension feeders.