For my very last Student’s Corner, I wanted to share some fun (and adorable) news! Wharton Media, together with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, U.C. Santa Cruz, U.C. Davis, the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Georgia Aquarium have begun gathering funds to create a live stream of the most sea otter populated area of the world, Moss Landing. Moss Landing is near San Francisco and has a perfect combination of habitats – tidal salt marsh and wetlands – for sea otters, sea lions, harbor seals, great egrets, and brown pelicans. Otters live there every day of the year, meaning the live stream is perfectly positioned for educators, scientists, and people to enjoy watching the otter antics.
Otters, besides being incredibly cute, are vitally important for marine ecosystems. Sea otters primary food are sea urchins, and when urchin numbers are kept in check, giant kelp forests can thrive. Thousands of plant and animal species depend on the shelter and food provided by kelp forests. This project will aid in the appreciation of sea otters, as well as educate about the roles keystone species play in an ecosystem.
The combination of the above organizations seeks to raise awareness, understanding, and solutions for threats against otters, raise funds for their conservation, educate the public, provide a digital resource for sea otter research and education, and aid in the dissemination of sea otter research. Their website, seaotters.com, provides copious amounts of information and ways to help in the aid of otters. A list of methods you can help is available on their Take Action page.
I am pleased that my last article will serve a topic I care about – animal conservation – especially otters. Thank you to all who read and comment on the blog, even those who keep us on our toes. I learned so much about the University especially, and how an institution our size can be a leader with sustainable initiatives and programs. It’s been a great experience, and I will miss UR (and everything that entails) tremendously.
By Alanna Scheinerman, Class of 2013