Kelp

Kelp forests are true forests providing shelter and food for over 1,000 species of animals and plants that live within them. Giant kelp grow at depths below 100ft, sending their leaf like fronds to the surface to create a dense canopy. 

Kelp forests of the Channel Islands experience both warm water currents from the South and cold water currents from the North. This mixing of currents creates a highly productive system and a diversity of organisms that is only found over a much greater area of the California coast. 

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The Importance of Kelp

Sea otters are a keystone species. They play an important role in the health and stability of near shore marine ecosystems. They eat sea urchins and other invertebrates that eat vast quantities of giant kelp. In the absence of sea otters, these grazing animals can annihilate kelp forests and consequently the wide diversity of animals that depend upon kelp habitat for survival. Providing habitat is one of many services kelp offers to the marine ecosystem. In this video Vancouver Island University marine biologist Jane Watson eloquently explains why kelp is so important.

Kelp Forests

Kelp forests are found mainly in cold, nutrient-rich waters on the western side of continents in temperate latitudes—although, unexpectedly, some were discovered in 2007 in warm tropical water around the Galápagos Islands.

Kelp is basically large seaweed—the various species are all types of brown algae. It is only distantly related to other aquatic and land plants but is well adapted to life in the sea, growing as much as 18 inches (50 cm) in a day. Giant kelp reaches lengths of 200 feet (30 m): half comprises the holdfast (how it attaches to the sea bed, however it is not a root, since it does not absorb anything), and half lies on the surface. The holdfast lives for 4-10 years; individual fronds live for 6-12 months.

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Peanut Miso Kelp Noodles! One of the best Cheap Clean Eats recipes I’ve ever made. YUM!

NGREDIENTS (4 servings):

1 Package Kelp Noodles (got these from Vitacost.com, couldn’t find in my local store. They also ship internationally!)

1 Tbsp Miso Paste

3 Tbsp Peanut Butter

1 Tbsp Sesame Oil

½ Cup Water

1 Avocado

4 Stems Kale

Handful Sunflower Sprouts

Dash of White Pepper

Dash of Salt 

Dash of Sesame Seeds

DIRECTIONS:

1. Drain the kelp noodles and rinse in a bowl of water. Cut with scissors so that they start to fall apart. This also makes it easier to eat.

2. To make the sauce, mix the miso paste, peanut butter, sesame oil, and water in a blender.

3. Cut avocado into small chunks.

4. De-stem the kale then slice it thinly. Add to noodles.

5. Mix the sauce in with the noodles and kelp. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Then carefully add in the avocado chunks.

6. Make sure all is covered in the thick, creamy sauce, then serve on a plate and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

<3 Cassey