Kelp Photo Gallery

These photos were taken in Halifax County, N.S., and most show the most easily visible subtidal kelp (to a snorkeler), Laminaria Agardhii. This ruffled kelp is the species that I've seen washed ashore on the same beach since the 1960s. What looks different now is the pale appearance of the fronds, especially the ruffled edge, and the tattered appearance of the plants. Although the evidence I offer here is merely 'anecdotal,' 20-30 years ago most of this kelp that washed ashore here in summer was a deeper brown, with intact ruffled edges. Literature on kelp farming or 'mariculture' describes two syndromes known to affect kelp when it is cultivated in suboptimal conditions: 'green rot' results from inadequate light and 'white rot' results from too much light or too little nitrogen. Brown seaweeds that cannot build the normal concentration of the brown pigments will appear greenish, since the green pigment, Chlorophyll a is the basic pigment that underlies all of the other colors that plants develop. At the distal edges of these plants, the palest kelp tissue is also seen to be turning red, reminiscent of the 'sunburn' affecting rockweeds here. Inadequately fertilized plants of all types are more susceptible to the damaging effects of light.

(links to other seaweed galleries: green seaweeds - rockweed - fuzzy seaweed - Irish moss - barnacles )
Photo gallery index


Underwater kelp, early July, 2002. The water was still frigid (nearly freezing the photographer), so the condition does not reflect heat damage.

Pale, white edged kelp with thin pale red algae (Porphyra?)

Long, mature kelps, early summer, cold water, appear generally pale and tattered. (East Dover)

Pale, light damaged(?) kelp with assorted 'fuzzy' growths.

Small kelp, curved growth, greenish basal frond and red-edged whitish tip. This is typical of many kelp plants in this area today.

Not adrift, but picked while swimming, green looking small kelp, with pale 'burnt' edge. Typical mid-summer look of kelp in East Dover.

Pale kelp, pale rockweed...

Another typical washed up specimen. Colors vary markedly from the dark brown of the kelp in past decades.

Many fronds show asymmetrical ruffle growth giving the plant a twisted appearance.

Not washed ashore, but picked, these two large kelps from inside Leary's Cove, East Dover, show the new 'green and white' look of this 'brown' algae.

View of kelp bed with heavy filamentous growths.

July 8, 2002, East Dover. Pale kelp with red edges beginning. Reddening of edges became more prominent later in the summer.

Pale, mature kelp with fluffy green Cladophora(?)...a signal of "nutrient overload?"

Pale kelp, pale Irish moss, pale fluff...

July 8, 2002, East Dover - nearly transparent kelp with assorted 'fuzzy' species.

Large frond washed ashore shows the dark brown color that was once the norm for this species in this area. However, it also has pale tattered edge.

Late September, in polluted Halifax Harbour, kelp is affected by epiphytes but maintains deep brown pigmentation. No 'white rot' or 'sunburn' here.

All photos copyright Debbie MacKenzie. Reproduce them if you like, just please credit the source.

(links to other seaweed galleries: green seaweeds - rockweed - fuzzy seaweed - Irish moss - barnacles )
Photo gallery index


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