Sea otters eat sea urchins, which in turn saves kelp. If otters abound in numbers, they can eat enough sea urchins to really make a difference. This is because kelp traps carbon dioxide in its forests. If otters and therefore kelp forests thrive CO2 in the atmosphere could decrease by 10^10 kilograms.
Our research shows that a typical 10 -15 meter “Macrocystus Pyrefera” Kelp plant off of the Southern California coast sequesters or traps sbout as much darbon dioxide as a small tomato plant. During ENSO or El Nino events there is even less due to the nutrient poor water prevalent from southern oceans.
Beftter yet plant a tree in your backyard or on a local hiking trail. We have been recommending sycamore and evergreen varieties.
It seems that sea otters helping to reduce CO2 is a bit of a stretch. I have observed that kelp comes and goes, really with no relationship with sea otters. In the Southern CA bight where there are few sea otters, there is a huge kelp event going on at this time. At some of the Islands you can almost walk on it and it covers multitudes of square miles. This is coming after a relatively mild El Nino. Typically, after El Nino the kelp is gone and then slowly rebuilds, even taking up areas where it hasn’t grown in years. A large swell will come and woosh large areas of kelp are on the beach. Only to grow back immediately or in some cases it may take years. So, this seemingly kelp cycle has been going on for the 60 odd years that I can remember, always without the presence of sea otters. I am not a scientist, but that leaves me to believe that sea otters don’t have a causal effect on the growth of kelp. Seriously, if we could just get all of us concerned people in the world to just hold their breath a couple of times a day, I think there would probably be more of a reduction of CO2 than sea otters contribution.
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