Synopsis top ↑
This book is the last of three large publications resulting from kelp
studies conducted recently at the University of California's Institute of
Marine Resources (IMR). The two preceding volumes are ”An inves—
tigation of the effects of discharged wastes on kelp” and ”The utilization
of kelp bed resources.” Both of these works, which emphasize practical
aspects of the kelp environment, are discussed briefly in the next section
below. The present publication focuses on the general biology of giant
kelp and the organisms associated with it.
Each author is an active researcher in the topic he discusses. Rather than review literature extensively, emphasis has been placed on presenting new material. Nonetheless the individuals have tried to review their fields adequately, though briefly. Unfortunately such independently written chapters may yield a piecemeal presentation and lack coherency. As a remedy, our introductory chapter will present a more unified and general view of the present state of knowledge in kelp biology. We have also included certain subjects outside the scope of pure biology since they will add significantly to the completeness of our presentation (economics of kelp resources, other IMR kelp publications).
Although our discussions are as complete as possible, the reader will perceive that in some fields much information is sketchy or unavailable. Species lists, measures of importance, and identification keys need to be extended for many important but poorly studied groups of the kelp bed assemblage (tunicates, canopy crustaceans, sponges, hydroids, etc.). Distribution of organisms as a function of geographical range and of depth should be studied. The ecology of the Macrocystis gametophyte is very poorly understood, as is the entire field of microbiology of kelp beds. These and many other conspicuous problems point up how little we still know about our oceanic forests.