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Title: Standing Crop, Turnover, and Production Dynamics of Macrocystis pyrifera and Understory Species Hedophyllum nigripes and Neoagarum fimbriatum in High Latitude Giant Kelp Forests

Production rates reported for canopy‐forming kelps have highlighted the potential contributions of these foundational macroalgal species to carbon cycling and sequestration on a globally relevant scale. Yet, the production dynamics of many kelp species remain poorly resolved. For example, productivity estimates for the widely distributed giant kelpMacrocystis pyriferaare based on a few studies from the center of this species' range. To address this geospatial bias, we surveyed giant kelp beds in their high latitude fringe habitat in southeast Alaska to quantify foliar standing crop, growth and loss rates, and productivity ofM. pyriferaand co‐occurring understory kelpsHedophyllum nigripesandNeoagarum fimbriatum. We found that giant kelp beds at the poleward edge of their range produce ~150 g C · m−2· year−1from a standing biomass that turns over an estimated 2.1 times per year, substantially lower rates than have been observed at lower latitudes. Although the productivity of high latitudeM. pyriferadwarfs production by associated understory kelps in both winter and summer seasons, phenological differences in growth and relative carbon and nitrogen content among the three kelp species suggests their complementary value as nutritional resources to consumers. This work represents the highest latitude consideration ofM. pyriferaforest production to date, providing a valuable quantification of kelp carbon cycling in this highly seasonal environment.

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Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Phycology
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 773-788
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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