The role of flow in determining zooplankton populations inside and outside kelp beds near the San Juan Islands.
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This study explored the relationship that flow in Nereocystis luetkeana beds has to zooplankton communities in the San Juan Islands. The hypothesis was that current flow rates would decrease further inside a kelp bed and that this would affect the types and densities of zooplankton. More Calanoid copepods were expected outside of the beds and more larval organisms inside the beds. Flow rates were measured by attaching blocks that dissolve over time to kelp at the center, edge and outside the kelp bed and comparing the changes in weight. Zooplankton sampling was done with a water pump and net. Results were statistically inconclusive due to small sample size and difficulty in retrieving blocks. There were possible connections between the rate of flow and the differences in zooplankton communities in and out of kelp beds at different sites. Lower velocity sites appear to have more different communities in and out.