KELPFLOAT aims to quantify the subsidy of kelp material to deeper and shallower ecosystems adjacent to kelp forests, and to identify kelp drift accumulation areas.



Regime shifts between sea urchin barrens and kelp forests, and shifts from kelp forests to reefs dominated by turf-forming algae have resulted in altered kelp biomass and detrital production along the Norwegian coast over the last three to four decades. A comprehensive understanding of the magnitude and fate of this production on recipient ecosystems is lacking. Hence we have limited knowledge of the importance of kelp production on a coastal scale, and the broader impacts of changes in detrital production, which are directly and indirectly linked to climate change. KELPFLOAT aims to provide a more mechanistic understanding of the movement of drift kelp from kelp forests to adjacent ecosystems, and the spatial extent of the influence of kelp detritus.



KELPFLOAT involves the development of a kelp-based particle transport module that can be combined with a fine scale 3D hydrodynamic model (160 m resolution) and used to simulate the fate of different types of kelp debris (stipes, lamina and lamina fragments) under various export scenarios (storm events, releases of full lamina in spring, and continuous erosion of lamina particles). The fate of the different kelp particles will be analyzed and the subsidy to shallow and deep areas will be quantified for each scenario.


NIVA: Eli Rinde – PL, Trond Kristiansen, Karen Filbee-Dexter, Eva Ramirez-Llodra, Trine Bekkby, Hege Gundersen, Kasper Hancke

HI: Jon Albretsen, Kjell Magnus Norderhaug

Univ. Western Australia: Thomas Wernberg

Roskilde Univ: Morten Foldager Pedersen


Photos from the project, click to view large:

Project timeline

Spring 2017

A first generation kelp-based particle transport module was developed in spring and evaluated during the KELPEX cruise in May 2017

Autumn 2017

A refined second generation model for the study site Malangen was developed. A map of accumulation areas (kelp graveyards) for Malangen was produced in October 2017

December 2017

Simulation experiment analysis, development of predictive maps of the geographical extent of the influence of kelp detritus

For more information

Eli Rinde, NIVA Oslo