Ocean climate and resistance of kelp beds to disturbances
Global climate changes are predicted to increase storm frequency and severity as well as raise ocean temperatures. At the same time, increased run-off from land and human activities will increase nutrient loads to coastal areas. The reproduction and recruitment of the dominant habitat former on temperate reefs in WA, the small kelp Ecklonia radiata, is negatively affected by high temperatures and competition from filamentous algae, which responds positively to increased temperatures and nutrient loads. This project therefore tests the prediction that increased ocean temperatures and nutrient loads will lower the resilience of kelp beds to physical disturbances from for example storms. The project is funded by a Discovery grant from the Australian Research Council.