Case study: Sea Otters →Crabs → Sea Slugs → Micro Algae → Eelgrass. At the age of 7 years, otters can breed successfully. Sea Otters play an important role in the ecosystem, and may even be mitigating some of the harmful environmental impacts of human activity. Subsequent generations of Californians didn’t know anything else, but as sea otters reclaim their historic range, I expect we will continue to discover far-reaching ecological effects that we hadn’t anticipated. OTTER MOMS ARE TOTALLY GAME FOR ADOPTION. The grazers in turn kept the eelgrass blades clean and healthy. Sea otters are an iconic species, representing the beauty and diversity of marine life found along California’s coastline. They are adapted to this kind of environment by possessing a dense fur coat which insulates the body from cold. The animals often wrap themselves in kelp so they do not drift away in the ocean’s swirling currents. These small urchins also readily devour kelp, and if their numbers swell, they begin to thin out kelp forests. Crude oil normally penetrates the fur of the otter destroying the air layer that is trapped next to its skin. Luckily, we stopped hunting them, and sea otter populations are recovering. Because sea otters do not have any insulating fat, the fur is responsible for heat maintenance. The high metabolism comes from the food eaten by the sea otters. Sea otters play a vital role in the health and stability of the nearshore marine ecosystem as a keystone species. These filter feeders indiscriminately sieve particles out of the water resulting in them accumulating high concentrations of pollutants and disease pathogens. Sea otters are foragers that eat mostly hard-shelled invertebrates, including sea urchins and a variety of clams, mussels, and crabs. Sea otters dive to rocky reefs, where they collect invertebrates and also a large rock. Although capable of walking on land, otters may spend their whole lives in water. Sea otters were hunted to near extinction during the maritime fur trade of the 1700 and 1800s. They are much more buoyant … As of 2006, the lingering oil in the area continued to affect the population of these valuable sea creatures. These otters have brown-to-gray fur, and their undersides are a lighter, silvery shade. All Rights Reserved. Sea otters have a symbiotic relationship with kelp forests. Unlike most marine mammals that use blubber to stay warm in the cold ocean waters, sea otters rely on their extremely thick fur. Almost all otters have webbed feet, some more webbed than others, and they can close off their ears and nose as they swim underwater. Sea Otter Play uses a premier virtual events platform called 6Connex. Otters are known to be very lively animals and they love playing so much. The ‘’Exxon Valdez’ oil disaster that occurred in Prince William Sound on March 24, 1989, proved that the single greatest threat to the otter today is an oil spill. Sea urchins are herbivores and feed on seaweeds like kelp. However, otters can hold their breath for deep dives to the ocean floor. What makes sea otters special? In the 1970s, a scientist named Dr. James Estes recognized that he could study the influence of sea otters on other species in their environment by comparing the coastal habitats in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands where sea otters had recovered to similar places where sea otters were absent. Otters can stay submerged for five to eight minutes, depending on the species, because their heart rate slows, and they use less oxygen. Places that are overrun with urchins are known as “urchin barrens”. Both wild and captive otters will slide down the same mud or ice path repeatedly. Thirdly, sea otters expose themselves to diseases and pollutants through their feeding habits. 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