The Australian government has declared the giant kelp forests off the coasts of Tasmania, Victoria, and South Australia endangered.
Giant kelp is found in the eastern Pacific Ocean and the southern oceans. It is the largest algae, which grows to more than 160 feet. One organism can grow as fast as two feet per day.
Giant kelp grows in thick groups known as kelp forests which serve as shelter for many marine species.
Despite their range and their quick growth habit, giant kelp is under threat from warming oceans, invasive species, and coastline development. Now the giant kelp are considered endangered ecosystems, developers will need to submit an assessment before building on the coast.
Giant kelp photo via Shutterstock