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Photographer's Note

The view from Santa Cruz Island's Crown Point hiking trail reveals Giant Kelp beds and kayakers. Giant Kelp is an important part of the Pacific coastal ecology.

Amazingly, Kelp is in the plant family's 'algae' group which is unusal for its size.
Kelp has 4 basic structural units:
The Holdfast a root-like mass anchoring the thallus to the sea floor, but it does not absorb and deliver nutrients to the plant.
The Stipe which is analgous to a plant's stalk, providing support.
The Fronds, leaf or blade like attachments to the stipe and responsible for nutrient uptake and photosynthetic activity.
And Pneumatocysts, gas-filled bladders, usually at the base of fronds near the stipe. They keep the kelp buoyant and upright under water.

Kelp is essential for a healthy marine ecosystem.

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Additional Photos by Ray Anderson (photoray) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1070 W: 1 N: 2827] (11745)
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