• Local Time
  • Location: Aquarium of the Pacific, California, USA
  • Source: Explore Oceans
  • Info: Live streaming underwater webcam at the Blue Cavern exhibit at the Aquarium of the Pacific. The webcam shows typical marine life found off the coast of Catalina Island.

More Info: Although they have the appearance of plants, Kelp are large brown algae. They grow in small anchored areas called kelp beds or larger groupings towering above the ocean floor which form kelp forests.

As well as food they provide shelter for fish, shore birds, invertebrates and marine mammals including seals, sea otters, sea lions and whales. Sea otters wrap themselves in giant kelp to keep from floating away whist sleeping in the water. Some creatures use the kelp blades to protect their young from predators or to seek refuge from rough seas during a storm. With ideal conditions, kelp can grow up to 45 cms a day.

Because of their dependency upon the suns energy for photosynthesis, kelp forests tend to inhabit shallow open waters and are rarely found deeper than 40 mtrs. Some forms of kelp have gas filled floats which keep the plant suspended and so allow kelp blades to reach the light in order to photosynthesize.