Distribution and Abundance of Kelp in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea near Prudhoe Bay


  • M. Busdosh
  • C.L. Beehler
  • G.A. Robilliard
  • K.R. Tarbox




Kelps, Plant distribution, Biomass, Prudhoe Bay, Alaska


Seventeen stations on five transects near Prudhoe Bay were quantitatively sampled for kelp. The easternmost transect was located along the fringe of the Boulder Patch, an area of cobbles and boulders supporting a dense kelp community. The transects progressed westwards for 26 km. Low densities of Laminaria solidungula and L. saccharina were found throughout the area. Approximately one-half of the specimens were attached, usually to a pebble or shell buried in the sand-silt substrate. Kelp was most abundant in depths of 4-7 m. No density gradient from the Boulder Patch was found within the study area. Kelp may exist over additional areas of the Beaufort Sea in sufficient numbers to affect faunal diversity and biomass.

Key words: Kelp, Laminaria solidungula, Laminaria saccharina, Boulder Patch