Underwater woodlands

In good clear water where light can penetrate and with a good, firm base to anchor to, seaweeds grow in profusion. So much so, it's like a forest here. The biggest seaweed of all is kelp. Kelp works just like a tree. Photosynthesis occurs in the fronds; there's a stipe or trunk; and there's a root system. These fronds are very tough and slimy, which means they don't get damaged in shallow, turbulent water. It also means that colonists don't move in. But not all of them are that easily put off. On the stipe and quite often on the fronds you get this white lacy growth. It's a sea mat and is capable of flexing just as much as the fronds. So the kelp plant is the basis for a whole community of animals, some of which live on it like the sea mat, and others which eat it. One of the prettiest is the blue rayed limpet. It really is a jewel among molluscs, and beneath its smooth protective shell it hides a soft body. Its mouth has a hard, file-like collection of teeth that rasp away at the tough stem of the kelp.

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