giant kelp

Think of giant kelp as the Godzilla of the seaweeds. These amazing brown seaweed can grow over 100 feet tall, at a rate of up to two feet a day! Large patches of kelp, called "kelp forests," can stretch many miles along cool coastal waters. These forests are important ecosystems, providing shelter and protection for many marine animals like sea urchins, snails, and crabs.

Scientific name: Macrocystis pyrifera
Size: 100 feet long
Habitat: shallow, cool coastal waters in the Pacific
and Indian Oceans
Eaten by: a variety of marine life, such as sea urchins and kelp crabs
Characteristics: can anchor itself to ocean floor; grows like an underwater forest

Image credits: main image: courtesy of Gary McCarthy, underwater-photos.