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Bladder Kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera)

Last Modified: 26-8-2021 16:21

Bladder Kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera)
Bladder Kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera)
© Christopher Cookson  License this image

Bladder kelp is a brown algae found around southern New Zealand coasts in cooler waters, with distinctive gas filled bladders. Bladder kelp can grow up to 50 metres in length, and forms kelp forests that provide an important habitat for many other marine species. Although photosynthetic, technically, bladder kelp is not a plant, but a member of the kingdom Protista. It is one of the fastest growing organisms in the world, able to grow up to 50cm per day, and has significant economic value as a food source, stock food supplement, and for various horticultural uses.

In Marlborough, bladder kelp is farmed in Kura te Au/Tory Channel and converted into a horticultural supplement for application to soils in commercial and domestic situations. It has also been trialled as a feed for cultured paua.

This example was found washed up on Ward Beach.

Image Date: 7/8/2021

Photographer: Christopher Cookson

Location: Latitude: -41.840317 Longitude: 174.190002

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