MOSS LANDING, Calif. - Kelp is the base of the Ecosystem on the Central Coast. That is why kelp forests are now the focus of research that aims to detect the movement of contaminants from the Fukushima disaster.
"The cool thing is that kelp takes up radio isotopes very readily, iodine, so they are kind of an early warning system for when these contaminants can move naturally through the system using the ocean current," said Cal State Professor of Ecology Michael Graham.
Graham said the research is being headed by Cal State Long Beach, but the marine labs in Moss Landing were chosen as the regional center on the Central Coast. 33 sties along the California coast will collect 15 pounds of kelp three times this year.
Professor Graham said there have been some reports of radiation in kelp just north of California near the state of Washington.
"2014 is about the time you would expect to see a signal really arriving strongly in California," said Graham.
Graham said even if radiation is detected it doesn't mean its harmful. He said if anything it will show how chemicals move through marine life.
"This will be more useful in understanding the role of these contaminants and probably yes it should help use standardized that we know, and decrease some of the worry that comes on when we have no information," said Graham.
The research will take all year. The Moss Landing marine labs will use resource out of UC Santa Cruz as well.