In praise of sea otters

Sea otters are awesome. I have a bunch of tabs open, and I wanted to drop some content here before I close them.

Sea otters are great in particular if you care about climate change, because they eat sea urchins, which in turn really, really like eating kelp, a giant seaweed that forms huge, beautiful kelp forests, that sequester (i.e. draw down) loads of CO2.

The sad thing is that we almost hunted sea otters to extinction in the early 20th century, and their reduced numbers have meant that loads of kelp forests have been decimated by marauding sea urchins that would have otherwise been eaten by them.

These sea urchins have worked little aquatic lumberjacks, gnawing through seaweed, and killing it, releasing CO2.

If I end up starting a project with a sea otter as a mascot, this is why.

Sea otters. Cute, climate heroes

More links

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/s/sea-otter/

https://science.jrank.org/kids/pages/58/OTTERS-URCHINS-KELP.html

https://www.montereybayseaweeds.com/the-seaweed-source/2018/9/25/sea-otters-arent-the-saviors-of-all-kelp-forests-hmns6-5l8jb