08 Sep '12, 5pm
Sea Otters To Combat Climate Change?
“Wilmers, Estes, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and their co-authors, combined 40 years of data on otters and kelp bloom from Vancouver Island to the western edge of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. They found that otters “undoubtedly have a strong influence on the cycle of CO2 storage.” “Comparing kelp density with otters and kelp density without otters, they found that ‘sea otters have a positive indirect effect on kelp biomass by preying on sea urchins, a kelp grazer.’ When otters are around, sea urchins hide in crevices and eat kelp scraps. With no otters around, sea urchins graze voraciously on living kelp.”