Sea otters are a keystone species. They play an important role in the health and stability of near shore marine ecosystems. They eat sea urchins and other invertebrates that eat vast quantities of giant kelp. In the absence of sea otters, these grazing animals can annihilate kelp forests and consequently the wide diversity of animals that depend upon kelp habitat for survival. Providing habitat is one of many services kelp offers to the marine ecosystem.
In this video, Vancouver Island University marine biologist Jane Watson eloquently explains why kelp is so important.
Read more: Science + Tech