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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The ecosystem off the California coastline is undergoing a dramatic change with the disappearance of kelp forests.

Laura Rodgers-Bennett of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center in Bodega Bay said warm ocean temperatures and an explosion of purple sea urchins are making kelp forests disappear.

“So, we’re seeing this unprecedented kelp loss. And it’s very large scale along the coast,” Rodgers-Bennett told KCBS.

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Hundreds of miles of kelp forests stretching from San Francisco to Oregon are at risk. Scientists are working on a possible solution and will study the impact on fisheries.

“And we’re going to be working on kelp to see if there’s young kelp plants being able to grow back inside and outside of urchin areas,” Rodgers-Bennett said.

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