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Sea urchin grazing and kelp re-vegetation in the NE Atlantic
Norderhaug, K.M.; Christie, H.C. (2009). Sea urchin grazing and kelp re-vegetation in the NE Atlantic. Mar. Biol. Res. 5(6): 515-528.
In: Marine Biology Research. Taylor & Francis: Oslo; Basingstoke. ISSN 1745-1000, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Forests; Grazing; Kelps; Sea urchins; Laminaria hyperborea (Gunnerus) Foslie, 1884 [WoRMS]; Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis (O.F. Müller, 1776) [WoRMS]; ANE, North East Atlantic [Marine Regions]; Marine

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  • Norderhaug, K.M.
  • Christie, H.C.

    Small-scale grazing events where sea urchins have grazed kelp forests to barren grounds have been reported all along the NE Atlantic coast. One large-scale event has been reported where kelp forests along the Norwegian and Russian coast were grazed by sea urchins during the early 1970s. The barren ground area has persisted since. Different theories to explain the grazing event have been presented. This paper seeks to sort and summarize earlier published papers and national reports and to critically examine the most important theories presented to explain the grazing event. The conclusion is that the reason for the event is unknown and it is too late to find causes 40 years after it took place. However, new data and new geographical analysis tools provide insight into the extent and consequences of this dramatic event, and show re-vegetation of kelp forests in the southernmost area. Emphasis in future studies should be given to understand the reasons for shifts between the two ecosystem states and take advantage of the ongoing shift. Such basic ecological knowledge could provide an important basis for better understanding the system and further, to understand the extent to which other observed large-scale changes (e.g. climatic changes, fish stock reductions) affect kelp forest-sea urchin interaction

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