RAINFOREST OF THE SEA (element 53)
Kelp provides nature with a thriving ecosystem underwater. It has no roots and does not have to fight gravity. Kelp is one of the fastest growing organisms on the planet. A kelp forest can host numerous kinds of sea plants, fish, crustaceans which creates a self-sustaining, biodiverse ecosystem.
This duo work portrays the two types of kelp — Laminaria Digitata and Bladderwrack. Laminaria Digitata is a tough, leathery, dark brown seaweed that grows to two or three metres. Bladderwrack is an “ecosystem engineer” that creates habitat, changes the environment by its physical presence, and affects multiple other species.
These two brown seaweeds Bladderwrack and Laminaria both played a seminal role in the discovery of iodine (element 53) in 1811 by the French chemist Bernard Courtois. As part of the Northern European kelp industry of the 1600’s they were harvested to extract not only iodine but also soda and potash.