Kelp forest physics and ecology

MLML Phycology student Steven Cunningham has been working with the Physical Oceanography lab to study transport and mixing in the kelp forests of Stillwater Cove. As part of his thesis on benthic particulate organic carbon in kelp forests, he has been conducting dye release experiments. An acoustic Doppler velocimeter (ADV) measures the waves and currents while a string of fluorometers  measures the vertical position of the dye plume. And don’t worry, the dye is not radioactive or otherwise harmful to marine life. Kelp forests are complex in terms of both ecology and physics, and MLML has a long history of studying this system.

Underwater view of a dye plume, with the ADV (left) and fluorometer (right).


SCUBA deployment of the ADV, with Carmel beach in the background.