We are taking our savvy to school! Young people are not only our heirs to the and the challenges we leave them, they are influencers and activists of today. These kids care passionately for sea otters and our school visit program offers them new ways to appreciate sea otters and tools to be sea otter savvy community members. Learn more about our youth program by clicking the link in our profile. #kidpower
Remember to respect all wildlife. Harry the Sea Otter Savvy beagle knows not to chase sea or shorebirds. Take a sandpiper POV: just minding your business foraging for sandcrabs and suddenly a giant predator comes charging after you! Scary! Be Seabird and Shorebird Savvy and respect beach closures that protect their nesting and roosting areas. #seabirdprotectionnetwork#seabirds#shorebirds
Yesterday we visited Otto in his territory in Morro Bay. In May, a lethargic and disoriented adult male was brought to @themarinemammalcenter and diagnosed with domoic acid toxicity. Domoic acid is produced by the marine alga Pseudo-nitzschia australis, which accumulates in some of the prey sea otters (and humans) consume, like clams and crabs. This toxin attacks the brain causing lethargy, seizures, and potentially, death. Little is known about how it affects sea otters. Given the name "Otto", he was treated, given color-coded flipper tags, and outfitted with a radio transmitter and state-of-the-art life history tag to help researchers better understand this condition. Released back to Morro Bay in September, he seems to have taken up residence as a territorial male. Thanks for posing for us, you handsome Otto, you!
The community of Morro Bay rallied to save this otter. One person with a gun took her away. Got info? Report to CalTIP 888-334-2258. Let's bring this killer to justice! Read more about this story of a town's journey to change its heart in the link in our profile. Photo by Mike Harris, CDFW of sea otter 741 (center) in the wild after her rehabilitation. #wildlifecrime
Community involvement is the key: Sea Otter Savvy takes a shift monitoring the behavior of a sea otter that has become trapped on the wrong side of a road by tide-regulated flood gates. The volunteers on call for monitoring come from the local neighborhood, Elkhorn Slough Reserve, Moss Landing Marine Labs, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and staff from US Fish and Wildlife Service and CA Department of Fish and Wildlife. Our data will hopefully help us to better understand sea otter behavior near roadways with a goal of creating safer corridors. The fencing, installed by Monterey County Public Works, prevents crossing attempts at the riskiest places. Sea otters are part of the Moss Landing community, and it will take a community to protect them. #ittakesavillage#wildlifecorridors
The Sea Otter Savvy citizen science team records ALL KINDS of activities that might cause disturbance to sea otters. Human cannonball was not on our list...until now. The otters alerted and readjusted themselves a bit, but fortunately did not dive or swim away. We encourage consideration for wildlife in all your recreation activities. #questionabledecisions
Sea otters are especially vulnerable to oil spills in large part because of their reliance on unsoiled fur for insulation, frequent grooming during which they ingest oil, and large proportion of time spent on the sea surface where oil initially accumulates. Today I worked with sea otter biologist Michelle Staedler of @montereybayaquarium to teach a workshop on wild sea otter "reconnaissance" to the dedicated people standing by to care for wildlife impacted by future oil spills. Hopefully we returned them to the world a bit more sea otter savvy. #oilapalooza2017
Young sea otters may learn what's good to eat and how to find it by watching their mothers or other sea otters. Sometimes they have to determine how edible something is by trial and error. This young sea otter spent some time trying to make a meal of a tough bat star before proclaiming it neither delicious or cooperative. #learningbydoing
I got to go browsing through the collection of the Morro Bay Museum today to look for sea otter prey examples for our school visit program. We found an impressive red abalone! #abalone#marineinverts#whatsinyourmuseum
Team Sea Otter Savvy #volunteerappreciation weekend, day 2: a calm, quiet cruise up Elkhorn Slough with @whispercharters. For the members of our SLO team, this was the first time ever seeing sea otters hauled out on shore!
Team Sea Otter Savvy #volunteerappreciation weekend, day 1: morning on the water with @blueoceanwhalewatch among six different species of cetaceans, followed up by a #behindthescenes tour @montereybayaquarium with sea otter uber-expert Michelle Staedler and sea otter husbandry staff Cecelia Azhderian. It was a day of wonder for a dedicated team of volunteers that give 100s of hours to help sea otters! Want to join the team? Send me a DM!
Be like this SUP guide, kindly educating a kayaker he saw paddling too close to a sea otter. Find your #onething. "Let the healing of the earth spread out from your doorstep" -David Ehrenfeld. #bethechange
There was a packed house at tonight's capstone event on the last evening of #SeaOtterAwarenessWeek 2017. Dr Tinker discussed how his last 25 years studying sea otters has changed his understanding of many key ecological ideas. It was a perfect end to a week celebrating awareness. What did you learn this week that you didn't know before? How can you turn that awareness into action to help make the world a better place? #learndoteach
Welcome to the last day of #SeaOtterAwarenessWeek ! You made it! Final fact: Much of what we've learned about sea otter ecology, behavior, and natural history in the last 2 decades comes from tracking tagged individuals over many years. It's the difference between knowing what that raft of otters is doing right now vs. what that specific otter does each day over many years. Tag reading primer: Tags are bright colored plastic and on the flippers. Important for ID of the otter are color, flipper (right or left), and position (between toes 1-5). Right flipper position indicates gender, color indicates specific study (Elkhorn Slough, Monterey, etc.). Left flipper can be any color or position and is often the unique identifier. No two living sea otters have the same combination of these factors! Sea otters are usually IDd by researchers on shore with high-powered telescopes.
This is REPU. Tell me about his tags! PS. There's a hint in his name.
Coming to Dr Tinker's talk tonight? You'll hear a lot about tagged sea otters!! Super sea otter portrait by @nila_129
Here are your plans for Saturday evening: Attend this must see presentation by the world's preeminent sea otter scientist, Dr Tim Tinker. "An Old Dog Learns New Tricks from a Big Weasel: Lessons About Life Learned Over a Career Studying Sea Otters" promises to be an entertaining retrospective by a charismatic speaker about a charismatic weasel. Much of our new understanding of the ecological role of sea otters in coastal ecosystems has roots in Dr Tinker's work. Whether you love sea otters or are interested in the complexity of our near shore community, don't miss this talk! See you at 5:30 tonight, 9/30, at the Center for Ocean Health, room 118, Long Marine Lab (right of Seymour Center) in Santa Cruz. #seaotterawarenessweek#ecology
Don't miss a #seaottersavvy event at the Monterey Bay Aquarium auditorium starting at 6:00 pm: "Are you as Savvy as a Sea Otter? Hear the latest about how sea otters use tools, see and discuss a vintage video, and hear your truly speak about why we should protect sea otters. Don't miss it! @montereybayaquarium@friendsseaotters
Sea Otter Awareness Week, Day 5 stat: Do you think sea otters wipe out abalone populations? Scientists in California have found that more sea otters = more abalone! Another myth bites the dust! Healthy kelp forests benefit all their residents. Read more: https://futureoftheocean.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/sea-otters-and-abalone-a-special-synergy/ Photo of mom and pup eating abalone by @nila_129#seaotterawarenessweek#soaw2017#predators
Sea Otter Awareness Week, day 4 stat: Sea otters feed day and night and must often find prey in turbid water. From @pinnipedlab: How do sea otters find food under water in almost complete darkness? Turns out that sea otters have sensitive touch abilities with their paws and their vibrissae (or, whiskers). Last year, @pinnipedlab researchers trained a young sea otter named Selka to discriminate between textures using either her paws or her vibrissae. Selka was an enthusiastic partner in this research, and--just like her harbor seal friend Sprouts--she learned to wear a custom-made blindfold that enabled researchers to directly measure the sensitivity of her vibrissae! So just how sensitive is the sense of touch in sea otters? Ask the UC Santa Cruz undergraduate students that tried the same task using their fingertips--Selka's paws and vibrissae were just as sensitive and about thirty times as fast. Now that's impressive! Researchers are currently preparing the results of these experiments for publication, so stay tuned. USFWS MA186914-2 || #seaotterawarenessweek#soaw2017
Sea Otter Awareness Week, day 3 quiz: Here is the skull of a sea otter. Why are his teeth stained purple? There's a hint in photo #2, and in this link to the bio of one of our favorite sea otter scientists:https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Science-Institute/Featured-Scientist/PostId/20/colleen-young #seaotterawarenessweek#soaw2017#teeth