Underwater gardeners work to restore B.C.’s majestic kelp forests

In the chilly waters of Vancouver Island’s Barkley Sound, gardeners are at work on the sea floor. They are scientists from the University of Victoria who are trying to regrow kelp forests, a crucial part of the marine habitat, amid threats from heat waves, climate change and voracious sea urchins. Julia Baum, a University of Victoria professor of ocean ecology and global change has been studying data going back decades on B.C.’s majestic underwater forests, which provide food and resources for fish and other coastal organisms. She said a “very prolonged marine heat wave between 2014 and 2016″ had a major impact on the northeast Pacific. “And what we found was that in a number of places, kelp forests disappeared,” said Baum. Bull kelp and giant kelp are the two…

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