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Ecosystem features determine seagrass community response to sea otter foraging

Marine Pollution Bulletin

By:
, , , ORCID iD , , , , and
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.09.047

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Abstract

Comparing sea otter recovery in California (CA) and British Columbia (BC) reveals key ecosystem properties that shape top-down effects in seagrass communities. We review potential ecosystem drivers of sea otter foraging in CA and BC seagrass beds, including the role of coastline complexity and environmental stress on sea otter effects. In BC, we find greater species richness across seagrass trophic assemblages. Furthermore, Cancer spp. crabs, an important link in the seagrass trophic cascade observed in CA, are less common. Additionally, the more recent reintroduction of sea otters, more complex coastline, and reduced environmental stress in BC seagrass habitats supports the hypotheses that sea otter foraging pressure is currently reduced there. In order to manage the ecosystem features that lead to regional differences in top predator effects in seagrass communities, we review our findings, their spatial and temporal constraints, and present a social-ecological framework for future research.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Ecosystem features determine seagrass community response to sea otter foraging
Series title:
Marine Pollution Bulletin
DOI:
10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.09.047
Edition:
Online First
Year Published:
2017
Language:
English
Publisher:
Elsevier
Contributing office(s):
Western Ecological Research Center
Country:
Canada, United States
State:
British Columbia, California