Stewards of the kelp forests: New research reveals how sea otters dramatically influence the climate

With their roly-poly bodies, child-like eyes, long whiskers and tiny padded paws, otters are some of the most charismatic animals in nature. But while being cute doesn’t serve much purpose in the wild, new research suggests these little furballs have been helping mitigate climate change.

A recent study in the journal PLOS Climate, led by researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, details how southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris) off the coast of California have helped kelp forests remain resilient to the impacts of climate change....

Originally posted on salon.com

Transforming old oil rigs into seaweed farms could resurrect “dead zones” in the ocean

As Big Agriculture continues to dump fertilizer and other cattle ranch runoff into the Gulf of Mexico, our aquatic systems suffer. Algal blooms wind up flourishing, killing fish and shellfish alike while causing eye and respiratory illnesses in humans. In addition, the dumping of this pollution into the Gulf of Mexico creates “dead zones,” or areas of the ocean where the oxygen is so low that life struggles to survive....

Originally posted on salon.com