Kelp raft distribution and associated animal communities in San Juan channel
Brackett, Capt. Gavin A.G.
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Nereocystis creates floating debris when broken from the bottom. With currents and wind this flotsam on occasion entangles to form a raft of Nereocystis. Rafting Nereocystis floats throughout the San Juan Islands channels. Here I report the results of surveys and trial studies conducted to study the movement, composition, fauna, density of rafts in channel, and human waste, associated with kelp rafts in San Juan channel. The measurements and collections for the studies utilized snorkeling and SCUBA diving equipment. Transect surveys the R.V centennial on its weekly pelagic ecosystem function cruise. Nereocystis kelp rafts and other flotsam is a relatively unstudied subject. My aims in this study included determining the relationships in the pelagic ecosystem with which Nereocystis rafts overlap; whether forage fish aggregate or use the raft as a feeding area; and whether predators attract to rafts. Nereocystis rafts are a refuge for benthic organisms in a pelagic environment.