Sea Otters Essay

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Sea otters are in danger. Sea otters have had problems for years because of being hunted for their fur. In fact, they were hunted to extinction in the area, but they were reintroduced in 1969 (“Olympic”). Sea otters play an important role in the coastal ecosystem, and they call the kelp beds home. Sea otters are another predator in this marine ecosystem that has been identified as a “keystone’ species (Stolzenburg 62). They also eat sea urchins, so this influx could benefit them. However, not all otters are specialized to eat urchins. Which means this influx in sea urchins doesn’t automatically equate to them being able to eat more of them. This learned specialization doesn’t happen overnight just because more urchins are around, so in the meantime the urchins will continue to eat the kelp. One way that the otters use the kelp is to wrap up in it while they sleep, so they don’t drift too far out to sea.…show more content…
The question is not if there will be an oil spill, the question is when. There have been several oil spills on the west coast, as it’s an oil rich coast. Oil spills can be catastrophic to marine ecosystems. It affects marine birds because it soaks into their feathers changing their ability to float, which can lead to death. It also is toxic to many aquatic species during various parts of their life cycles. Oil can literally smother some species because it hinders their ability to absorb from the water. Plants and kelp are particularly affected by oil spills, and as the base of most ocean life it causes ripples up the food change, much like sea star wasting caused ripples down the food chain. Some species are more affected than others such as kelp, sea otters and marine birds all of which play critical roles in the marine ecosystem. Oil spills are yet another threat for these already threatened ecosystems. Unfortunately, oil spills aren’t the only additional threat, as the ocean waters
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