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Dr. Jarrett Byrnes

Reef Life in Your Back Yard: Kelp Beds, Meadows and Forests

New England is a kelpy wonderland. Along our local shores, we have rolling meadows of kelp full of crabs, lobsters and more. Kelp beds, kelp meadows, and kelp forests are also found in one quarter of the world’s coastal areas. They provide food for humans and fish alike, alter shorelines, and shape the temperate reefs around them. Unfortunately these big beautiful cold-water algae have started to respond to changes in water temperature and wave action. Dr. Byrnes will address why kelp is important and what changes may be in store for the future.

Dr. Jarrett Byrnes is an Assistant Professor of Biology at UMass Boston. His research focuses on the causes and consequences of the diversity of life in the oceans. He has a long history working underwater in New England, having started his career diving in New Hampshire’s Isles of Shoals as an undergraduate. He went on to complete a PhD at the University of California, Davis, in Population Biology, taking a detour to study the communities of organisms that foul boat hulls. He then worked in Santa Barbara, studying giant kelp forests and science crowd funding. He has been back in Boston for three years, and he has a growing research program studying the ecology of kelp beds in the Gulf of Maine.