Giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera). This is the largest of the giant kelps and can grow more than 45 centimetres a day. It is usually found in large beds or forests. The giant kelp uses pnematocysts, gas-filled sacs (orange), as floats to keep its blades near the surface where there is more sunlight for use in photosynthesis. This is an ecologically and economically important species of marine alga. Giant kelp forests are home to hundreds of marine invertebrates, fish and mammals. Giant kelp is also harvested and used as an ingredient in a wide range of household products, including toothpaste, cosmetics and ice cream. Photographed off California, USA.
Science Photo Library was founded in 1981 by Michael Marten, one of the authors of "Worlds Within Worlds", a book exploring different ways to observe the universe - from electron micrographs, to images of earthrise taken from the Apollo spacecraft. When Marten started receiving requests for the beautiful images in the book, he had an idea of setting up Science Photo Library.
Since then, Science Photo Library has continued to work alongside world acclaimed photographers and the leading science and medical experts to provide a central source of the best science and specialist imagery available. Although the collection started with scientific images, it has grown to encompass all aspects of science and their impact on everyday life.
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