Kelp forests can be seen along much of the West Coast of North America. NOAA scientists study kelp forests by visiting the same locations over and over to assess the presence and abundance of a variety of organisms. Monitoring allows marine scientists to determine if the kelp forest is changing over time and to identify the cause of those changes, whether natural or human. Healthy kelp forests maintain the existence of thousands of plants, animals, and fish stocks. All of these require a thriving ocean ecosystem.