Data Paper. Data Paper

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Marine macroalgae are believed to be among the most productive autotrophs in the world. However, relatively little information exists about spatial and temporal variation in net primary production (NPP) by these organisms. The data presented here are being collected to investigate patterns and causes of variation in NPP by the giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, which is believed to be one of the fastest growing autotrophs on earth. The standing crop and loss rates of M. pyrifera are measured monthly in permanent plots at three sites in the Santa Barbara Channel, USA. Collection of these data began in June 2002 and is ongoing. Seasonal estimates of NPP and growth rate are made by combining the field data with a model of kelp dynamics. The purpose of this Data Paper is to make available a time series of M. pyrifera NPP, growth, and standing crop that is appropriate for examining seasonal and interannual patterns across multiple sites. Data on plant density in each plot and censuses of fronds on tagged plants at each site are also made available here. NPP, mass-specific growth rate, and standing crop are presented in four different metrics (wet mass, dry mass, carbon mass, and nitrogen mass) to facilitate comparisons with previous studies of M. pyrifera and with NPP measured in other ecosystems. Analyses of these data reveal seasonal cycles in growth and standing crop as well as substantial differences in M. pyrifera NPP among sites and years.

Key words: giant kelp; growth rate; Macrocystis pyrifera; marine algae; net primary production; standing crop.