“It all starts with the kelp.”
Chris Morgan, wildlife ecologist, conservationist, filmmaker and host of the podcast THE WILD takes us under the Salish Sea to discover the incredible interconnected ecosystems, called kelp highways, that make life in the Pacific Northwest possible. Chris listens to Native American biologists and the Coast Salish people who have lived alongside the kelp and protected it for thousands of years. Tribes have joined together to protect the kelp highway and are actively training their youth to be the next natural resource managers of this life-giving ecosystem that creates the food for our food and is critical for the survival of species like pinto abalone, salmon and more.
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Kelp forests provide rich and complex habitat for a multitude of species. Healthy forests also provide oxygen, absorb storm energy and mitigate the effects of ocean acidification by sequestering carbon from the atmosphere.
In the southern and central parts of the Salish Sea, kelp forests have declined approximately 80% in the last 50 years. It’s likely that a combination of factors is contributing to the decline of kelp forests in the Salish Sea: increasing air and water temperatures, chemical pollution, changing oxygen levels and ocean acidification.
The Seattle Aquarium thanks the James M. Lea Foundation for its generous financial support for this video series.
Thank you also to the video production team at Soulcraft Allstars and Chris Morgan for their invaluable contributions.