Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

Why stranded kelp is good for beach ecology

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47355 full

In Malibu on Wednesday, scientists will present a workshop on why you might want to see piles of seaweed on public beaches. 

That seaweed left above the tide line is called “wrack.” Kelp wrack has a lot of benefits for coastal marine life that feed from and around it.

Shorebirds like the black bellied plover thrive on beaches that look a little messier because the kelp attracts insects and other small animals on which they can feed.

Most southern California beaches are groomed. Where people make beaches smooth and bare, less wildlife come to feed, and the absence of kelp wrack can have ecological impacts that can take years to recover.

Scientists Jennifer Dugan from UC Santa Barbara and Karen Martin from Pepperdine will hold a public talk Wednesday from 5 to 7 pm. Their workshop sponsored by the City of Malibu is part of a three-week state-sponsored public education effort called Coastweeks. The idea is to improve public awareness and public management of coastal areas around California and the rest of the country. 

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