In the not too distant future, global warming could deprive Japanese cuisine of an essential element: konbu, or edible kelp.

A Hokkaido University research group has warned that 11 principal breeds of natural konbu may cease to exist by the 2090s.

That also poses a threat to sea urchins, prized as a delicacy in Japan for the edible part called uni, and other sea fauna that depend on this ecological system for their survival.