Sea Otter’s Scourge

A hidden toxin stalks marine mammals off the coast of California and kills dogs and cats farther inland.

By | May 1, 2014

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Avatar of: PastToTheFuture


Posts: 58

May 15, 2014

It is interesting to compare otter areas to non-otter areas around the world. It is almost like otters are an anomolie in the environment. There is no specie as rapacious as otters, even humans. Most climax predators show some great benefit in keeping a balance in their environment, but it is not the case with otters. They are good for the seaweed, but they devestate almost every other animal population in the kelp forest, yet where hey don't exist, the kelp forest ecology is healthy. They are a very unusual specie.

Avatar of: James V. Kohl

James V. Kohl

Posts: 287

May 22, 2014

This is what real science is about: pattern recognition.

Fertilizer Limits Sought Near Lake Erie

Nutrient-dependent epigenetic effects of vitamins appear to work in combinations with ions at the atomic level in ways that have not been fully considered in the context of ecological variables, nutrient metabolism and ecological adaptations. For example, phosphate is also important in ecological terms. In the context of systems biology, it is often a limiting nutrient in environments and its availability may govern the growth rate of organisms 35. Furthermore, a recent report suggested that metabolites of phospholipids, which are present in cell membranes, may soon link clinical assays to early diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease 36.

The complexity of conserved molecular mechanisms involved in the atoms to ecosystems rate-limiting epigenetic effects of phosphate ions and elemental phosphorus are perhaps best exemplified when phosphate-contaminated water drains into lakes and causes problems with algal blooms that may reportedly kill dogs and cause illnesses in people 37. However, the pattern that has emerged suggests nutritional epigenetics is not something to be considered in the context of one nutrient or nutrient uptake in some but not all species. The pattern that has emerged suggests nutritional epigenetics must be considered in the context of other ecological factors that link the pattern of nutrient uptake and nutrient metabolism across species.

Nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled ecological adaptations: from atoms to ecosystems





Avatar of: Kkw1


Posts: 1

Replied to a comment from PastToTheFuture made on May 15, 2014

May 23, 2014

Your statement about the health of the kelp dominated ecosystem is only true in areas where sea otters are not native.  

In areas where sea otters have been extripated, the kelp-dominated ecosystem shifts to an urchin-dominated barren- literally a barren area of ocean floor.  Additionally, healthy kelp forest creates nursery areas for young fish, feeding areas for birds, and according to new research, sequesters CO2 from the environment.  Keeping the urchin population in check and allowing kelp forests to thrive means that sea otters aren't just good for macrocystin kelp, they're good for the entire near shore ecosystem.


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