Wildlife Health Center

California’s Crashing Kelp Forest

How Disease, Warming Waters and Ravenous Sea Urchins Combined to Kill the Kelp and Close the Red Abalone Fishery

First the sea stars wasted to nothing. Then the purple urchins took over, eating and eating until the bull kelp forests were gone. The red abalone starved. Their fishery closed. Red sea urchins starved. Their fishery collapsed. And the ocean kept warming.