Diver disturbance in kelp forests

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Schaeffer, T. N., Foster, M. S., Landrau, M. E., & Walder, R. K. (1999). Diver disturbance in kelp forests. California Fish and Game, 85(4), 170-176.
TitleDiver disturbance in kelp forests
AuthorsT. Schaeffer, M. Foster, M. Landrau, R. Walder
AbstractRecreational SCUBA diving has greatly increased in the past 20 years and has potential to cause significant disturbances to subtidal reefs. While diver disturbance on coral reefs has been assessed in a number of studies, disturbances in temperate kelp forests have not been previously examined. We estimated diver disturbance in southern Monterey Bay giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, forests by following 42 divers in summer 1997 and recording their activity. During a 0.5 hour dive, the average diver contacted the bottom 43 times, touched 4 animals, and detached 2 algal blades. An estimated 65,000 diver-days are spent in these kelp forests every year, resulting in a potential loss of 130,000 algal blades and considerable benthic disturbances. The effects of these impacts and mitigation for them should be considered in proposals to establish and manage marine protected areas.
JournalCalifornia Fish and Game
Start page170
End page176
Subjectsanthropogenic effect, kelp forest, scuba diving, United States
NoteCited By (since 1996):2, Ecology, Seaweeds