Giant Kelp

Macrocystis pyrifera
Giant Kelp

Macrocystis means "large bladder" -- a predominant feature
of this marine algae, which is found along the Pacific coast
of North America.  The bladders contain gas,
which helps the fronds to float in the water column
and up to the surface, where they form a dense canopy

Although it begins life as a microscopic spore at the ocean floor,
this species may grow to lengths of 200 feet (60 m).

Forests of giant kelp support over a thousand
different species of marine plants and animals.

For more information on the various species of kelp,
check out the Catalina Island Conservancy's page on kelp.

Lens: 60mm
Film: Kodak E-100 VS
Location: San Clemente Island, California
Depth: 10 feet/3 meters
©2001 Garry McCarthy