Race to save giant kelp off Tasmanian coast as sea temperatures rise

Forests of giant kelp once stretched along the entire seabed off the east coast of Tasmania in Australia. This kelp, which can grow to 30m in length, is the largest and fastest-growing sea plant. It is also an important food source and habitat, and i
Forests of giant kelp once stretched along the entire seabed off the east coast of Tasmania in Australia. This kelp, which can grow to 30m in length, is the largest and fastest-growing sea plant. It is also an important food source and habitat, and is crucial to sustaining marine diversity. But due to rising sea temperatures, 95 per cent of giant kelp forests there have been destroyed. PHOTO: EAGLEHAWK DIVE CENTRE

Efforts include app to track their sightings, breeding them to tolerate warm water

Beneath the waters off the island of Tasmania in Australia are ancient forests made up of giant kelp, a form of seaweed that can grow up to 50cm a day.

But these forests, which once stretched along the entire seabed off the east coast of the island, have been fast disappearing.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 17, 2020, with the headline 'Race to save giant kelp off Tasmanian coast as sea temperatures rise'. Print Edition | Subscribe