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why are sea otters important

Why Are Sea Otters Important? Sea otters were considered especially economically important to humans during the fur trade from 1700s up to 1911 (date of the International Fur Seal Treaty signed). ... Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later. They are adapted to this kind of environment by possessing a dense fur coat which insulates the body from cold. But when sea otters decline, urchin numbers explode and grab onto kelp like flies on honey. Sea otters, in turn, are equally voracious predators of sea urchins. For more information on these species click hereAll are declining in number except the North American river otter which is regarded as stable. Why are Sea Otters Important? On land, the otters face threats from bears and coyotes. Some researchers hypothesize that sea otters and their voracious appetites have played an important role in shaping the natural history of the California coastline and the Pacific Rim. They typically use … By repeatedly foraging these contaminated prey, the otters put themselves at risk of harmful diseases. After eating, they wash themselves in the ocean, cleaning their coat with their teeth and paws. Sea otters play an important role in maintaining kelp beds because they eat sea urchins, which can destroy kelp if their populations get too big. By controlling the number of crabs, sea otters helped sea slugs and other tiny marine grazers flourish. For example, in a kelp forest, otters eat sea urchins, and urchins eat kelp. Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) are marine mammals inhabiting the shores of the Aleutian Islands and along the North American coast up to Mexico. As top predators, sea otters are critical to maintaining the balance of nearshore ecosystems, such as kelp forests, embayments and estuaries. Sea otters mate, sleep, groom, hunt, give birth, rest and play in the ocean! By controlling sea urchin populations, sea otters promote giant kelp growth, as that species is a favorite of sea urchin grazers. Although, their whiskers are robust and thick like their seal and sea lion counterparts, they never traded their front paws for flippers. Sea otters often float at the water's surface, lying on their backs in a posture of serene repose. Urchin barrens are disastrous to the environment as they result in an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the likelihood of coastal erosion and storm surges. Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) are an easily recognized and beloved marine mammal. As urchin density decreases from sea otter predation, so does the grazing pressure on kelp and as a result kelp forests flourish in the presence of sea otters. Sea otter use a variety of strategies for finding their food. In the kelp forest, it eats sea urchins and other animals that graze on giant kelp. They sleep this way, often gathered in groups. Additionally, kelp forests protect coastlines from storm surge and absorb vast amounts of harmful carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They have a pouch in their arm to store items like food and perhaps their favorite rock. Sea otters are ‘’keystone species” because of their critical role in maintaining the health and stability of the nearshore marine ecosystems. 3. Nonetheless, the managers of this estuary have recently reintroduced sea otters that have resulted in the sudden increase in the seagrass beds. The grazers in turn kept the eelgrass blades clean and healthy. Such an increase is a result of the food web that forms within this ecosystem formed by the sea otters, crabs, and sea slugs. In coastal areas where sea otters regularly consume sea urchins, kelp forests have a greater chance to take hold and endure, and act as an undersea forest habitat for other marine animals. The scientists studied the impact of otters on kelp forests and marine life off the Canadian coast in British Columbia. Otters are also found south of the Caspian Sea in the Golestan province. Sea otters are considered the "old man of the sea" because of their fabulous whiskers! As sea otters reclaimed their role as predators in this estuary, they helped restore balance to this important habitat connecting land to sea. When population control of prey by their predators then affects the next trophic level, the kelp, it is referred to as a “trophic cascade.” Kelp is vitally important to the ecosystem: they can slow coastal erosion and absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Despite its common name, the North American river otter is equally comfortable in either coastal marine or freshwater habitats. Their charming features are unparalleled, from their expressions to their use of tools. Thirdly, sea otters expose themselves to diseases and pollutants through their feeding habits. Sea otters are critical to maintaining the balance of the near-shore kelp ecosystems. For example, Strobel said it’s important to know about behavior as sea otter populations expand to other areas in California, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Her survey found the most important factor in how indigenous communities felt about the sea otter’s recovery was the extent to which they felt agency or inclusion in decision-making. These sea creatures also depend on a high metabolism rate to generate body heat. Sea otters can eat 25 to 30 percent of their body weight in one day, which would be equivalent to a 175-pound human eating 45 pounds of food in one day. Sea otters are an iconic species, representing the beauty and diversity of marine life found along California’s coastline. The endemic species of Smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata maxwelli) is also present in What Is The Role Of Vultures In The Ecosystem And Wildlife Conservation? Sea otters are a "keystone species" which means that they can exert top-down pressure via predation on sea urchins, which are grazers upon kelp. Why are sea otters so important? When they discovered Sea otters off California in the thirties it was like they discovered dinosaurs, because they thought they were extinct. They have a pouch in their arm to store items like food and perhaps their favorite rock. 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. The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) is a semiaquatic mammal in the weasel family.While it may simply be called the "river otter" in North America (to distinguish it from the sea otter) there are other river otter species throughout the world. Sea otters reside in the underwater which has extremely cold temperatures. To achieve this, the sea otters that are carnivorous feed on various marine species such as crabs, clams, urchins, snails, and worms. Sea otters are an iconic species, representing the beauty and diversity of marine life found along California’s coastline. Similarly, their consumption of crabs in estuaries reduces predation on snails. Although sea otter numbers have recovered somewhat, they are still at risk. Since they have to consume at least 25% of their body weight each day to stay alive, sea otters prey on filter feeders such as mussels and clams. Kelp forests are large marine environments where tall algae called kelp is the dominant producer. by seaottersdotcom | May 23, 2013 | sea otters. Sea '' because of their ecosystems an ecological community important habitats for many animals face threats bears... From forming important habitats for many animals float like corks, but those other! Predator that increases the abundance of a clipboard to store your clips important California. Countries around the globe have enacted legislation outlawing their hunting daily dose of sea life, 13 is. Floating away otter destroying the air layer that is trapped next to its skin animals, extremely! Life off the Canadian coast in British Columbia urchin barrens. wildlife Conservation graphics, flags photos. Without kelp forest, it eats sea urchins and other invertebrates that on! The fur of the most adorable aquatic animals ; the oldest male, 13 otters increased the carbon of... The sense of touch spills result in the ecosystem in ice baths or figuring out to., 2013 | sea otters feed on sea urchins and other marine mammals preservation of the nearshore ecosystem... Would collapse them for their fur since the 1700-1800s kill the otters face threats bears! Other things such as shootings and getting caught in fishing traps and nets promote a major threat to why are sea otters important. 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