sp02u1p4 - Unit One CINMS Kelp Forests Lesson Objectives:...

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Unit One CINMS ©Project Oceanography Spring 2002 21 Kelp Forests Lesson Objectives: Students will be able to do the following: Identify the parts of a kelp and explain their function Compare and contrast the components of the kelp forest with a terrestrial forest Describe one monitoring technique used within the kelp forest Key concepts: algae, blade, stipe, holdfast, alternation of generations, sporophyte, seasonality, ecological interdependence, monitoring Kelp Overview Kelps belong to a group of photosynthetic organisms known as algae . Algae range in size from microscopic single celled diatoms to large brown kelps. Kelps are characterized by three main parts: blades , stipes , and holdfasts . The blades are similar to the leaves of land plants. They are the photosynthetic factories of the kelp. It is here that energy from sunlight and nutrients from the water are combined to produce food. Stipes of kelps look like the stems of plants, but they do not perform nutrient transport functions like the stems of plants. Their main function is to provide support for the kelp blades. The holdfasts, similar in appearance to the roots of land plants, help to anchor the kelp on hard surfaces. Although kelps resemble land plants, they are uniquely adapted to life in cool, clear, moving water. They depend on moving water to provide a steady supply of nutrients for photosynthesis . As water flows by the blades, their serrated edges help to increase water mixing. This drives more nutrients past the kelp plants. These nutrients are then absorbed by all parts of the kelp. Kelps also need sunlight for photosynthesis. Clear water allows various wavelengths of sunlight to penetrate to lower depths. Almost all of these wavelengths of light can be used for photosynthesis in the blades. The blades are kept near the surface by tiny floats. These hollow gas filled bladders are called pneumatocysts. Kelp blades also allow photosynthesis on both their top and bottom surfaces for maximum food production.
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Unit One CINMS ©Project Oceanography Spring 2002 22 Kelps are designed to reproduce in water through a complex process known as alternation of generations. In this process, the large kelp forms make spores or cells. These spores are released into the water where they are dispersed. Under the right conditions, these spores develop into microscopic male and female stages. When a male sperm fertilizes a female egg, it makes a plant that produces spores. This tiny plant, called a sporophyte, anchors itself to the bottom using its holdfast. As it grows, it begins to split. This growth center is called the apical meristem. When it splits each part of it becomes a blade or a stipe. This kelp continues to grow until it becomes a giant plant that produces spores. The cycle begins again. The kelp plants may grow for up to ten years, but the blades or fronds only last for a few months. As the blades are torn from the plants by wave action, they begin to decay. This decayed
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This note was uploaded on 07/31/2011 for the course OCB 6050 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at University of South Florida.

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sp02u1p4 - Unit One CINMS Kelp Forests Lesson Objectives:...

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