(Kelp forest before (left) and after (right) the marine heatwave)
…per report in journal Science, 5 years on from heatwave, these kelp forests show no signs of recovery. . ..Instead, fish, seaweed and invertebrate communities from these formerly temperate kelp forests are being replaced by subtropical and tropical reef communities. Tropical fish species are now intensely grazing the reef, preventing the kelp forests from recovering… team surveyed reefs along 2,000km of coastline from Cape Leeuwin, south of Perth, to Ningaloo Reef between 2001 and 2015…This has implications for the Great Southern Reef (GSR), which extends more than 8,000km around the southern half of Australia from the southern half of WA all the way to southern Queensland – a coastline that is home to around 70% of Australians…Kelp forests are the GSR’s “biological engine”, feeding a globally unique collection of temperate marine species, not to mention supporting some of the most valuable fisheries in Australia and underpinning reef tourism worth more than A$10 billion a year.