The Ocean Basket Kelp Forest Exhibit at the Two Oceans Aquarium is famously home to gorgeous white steenbras, South Africa’s national fish the galjoen, maasbanker, and red stumpnose, easily visible to the naked eye. But did you know that it also harbours smaller creatures, no less magical, in the root-like structure of the holdfasts? Black mussels, shrimps, flatworms, orange thread-gilled worms, fanworms, feather stars, brittlestars, segmented worms … there’s a world of underwater wonder hidden among the complex tangles of the holdfast.
Since sea plants like kelp and sea bamboo get the water and nutrients they need from the ocean surrounding them, they don’t need roots. But in order to handle the sea’s wave action, they do need these attachment organs known as holdfasts.
And holdfasts, with their networks of little root-like stems, are home to myriads of small animals.
Watch as our Environmental Education Centre team performs a holdfast dissection and explores what’s hiding inside this magical, mysterious underwater world.