Kelp Forests

Dive into your West Coast national marine sanctuaries to discover magnificent kelp forests. Tiered like a terrestrial rainforest with a canopy and several layers below, kelp forests shelter an amazing array of life, from tiny invertebrates to the charismatic sea otter.

sea butterfly swimming in a kelp forest

A tiny sea butterfly, or pteropod, floats in the kelp forest of Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Evan Barba


seapearch swimming among a kelp forest

Kelp forests are home to striped seaperch, sea urchins, sea stars, and more in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: Kelly Teich


Bull kelp floating in the water

Bull kelp floats in Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Photo: David J. Ruck/NOAA