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Giant kelp rafts wash ashore 450 km from the nearest populations and against the dominant ocean current


Layton, C and Vermont, H and Beggs, H and Brassington, GB and Burke, AD and Hepburn, L and Holbrook, N and Marhshall-Grey, W and Mesaglio, T and Parvizi, E and Rankin, J and Semolini Pilo, G and Velasquez, M, Giant kelp rafts wash ashore 450 km from the nearest populations and against the dominant ocean current, Ecology, 103, (10) Article e3795. ISSN 0012-9658 (2022) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright 2022 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1002/ecy.3795


On 9 August 2020, two local marine naturalists (authors W. Marshall-Grey and J. Rankin) on the south coast of New South Wales, Australia noticed a significant amount of a large unfamiliar kelp washed up on a local beach. A browse through Graham Edgar's iconic marine guidebook for temperate Australia (Edgar, 2012), followed by some quick confirmations via phone and email, revealed that the unfamiliar seaweed was giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera, Figure 1): a species whose closest known populations are >450 km away to the south (in Tasmania and western Victoria) and whose transport to New South Wales would have required oceanic rafting over several weeks and hundreds of kilometers against the prevailing south-flowing East Australian Current (Figure 2). Subsequent community-led searches over the following days confirmed four more locations of often-substantial amounts of giant kelp wrack, as well as many more anecdotal and unconfirmed accounts.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:kelp, particle tracking, barnacle, dispersal, Lepas, Macrocystis, wrack
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Biological oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Oceanic processes (excl. in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean)
UTAS Author:Layton, C (Dr Cayne Layton)
UTAS Author:Holbrook, N (Professor Neil Holbrook)
UTAS Author:Semolini Pilo, G (Miss Gabriela Semolini Pilo)
ID Code:150894
Year Published:2022
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2022-07-04
Last Modified:2022-11-09
Downloads:4 View Download Statistics

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