All posts tagged: signs of historical environmental upsets

Kelp Is a Record of Environmental Catastrophes

Kelp Is a Record of Environmental Catastrophes

[ad_1] This article was originally published by Hakai Magazine. On November 14, 2016, a huge earthquake rocked Kaikōura, a town on New Zealand’s South Island, killing two people, triggering a tsunami, and thrusting stretches of coastline 18 feet up out of the sea. The biologists Ceridwen Fraser and Jon Waters were watching the aftermath on television. “We were seeing images of kelp and [abalone] lifted out of the water and dying,” Waters says. For these two scientists who had spent much of the previous decade looking for evidence of ecological upheaval on the coast, Fraser says, there was only one thing to do: “We got on a plane.” A decade or so earlier, in the mid-2000s, Fraser was a student in Waters’s lab at the University of Otago, in New Zealand. The pair were studying how the genetics of New Zealand bull kelp vary across the Southern Hemisphere, and they noticed something very strange. Read: Kelp is weirdly great at sucking carbon out of the sky The kelp living along the coast of mainland New …