By digging for food in eelgrass beds, sea otters increase eelgrass genetic diversity and make eelgrass more resilient to environmental change. After being hunted close to extinction, they are now showing us how species recovery can build resilience in today's ecosystems.
Sea Otters Recovery and Advocacy
As Sea Otter Awareness Week approaches (September 18-24, 2022), Marine Conservation Institute has teamed up with Sea Otter Savvy to raise sea otter awareness
Sea otters are a keystone species, which means that their presence in the environment has a significant impact on ecosystem structure and other species. As a predator of sea urchins, crabs and many other invertebrates, sea otters help maintain healthy kelp forests and sea grass beds. Fur hunters removed sea otters from vast areas of their historic range in the 1700 and 1800’s nearly driving sea otters to extinction.
Today, conservation efforts along the US West Coast and British Columbia are bringing otters back from the brink of extinction with them healthier coastal ecosystems. Sea otter recovery in increasingly recognized as an important step in maintaining these 'Blue Carbon' habitats and an important part of building resilience to climate change for nearshore ecosystems. Marine Conservation Institute is supporting these efforts; here are a few resources to learn more about how you can support the recovery of sea otters:
- Join Marine Conservation Institute's Webinar: Recovering sea otters increase eelgrass genetic diversity and show how species restorations can support ecological resilience with Dr. Erin Foster
- Elakha Alliance
- Sea Otter Savvy
- Bay Nature Article, Hannah Hindley
- Marine Mammal Commission
- Defenders of Wildlife
- Monterey Bay Aquarium
- Marine Conservation Institute's Blog