One Cool Thing: Otters Stoke Seagrass Romance

Image: Michael L. Baird via Wikimedia Commons

It’s about time we had a conversation about the birds and the bees…or in this case, the otters and the seagrass. A new study found that the ecological relationship between sea otters and the seagrass fields where they make their home is spurring the rapid reproduction of the plants. Otters dig up about 5% of the grass in their habitats, which puts the grasses under pressure and causes both sexual and asexual reproduction.

 

Why is the otter and seagrass romance so important? Often called the “forgotten ecosystem,” seagrasses can sequester vast amounts of carbon and are one of the most widespread ecosystems in the world, though they are also among the least protected and declining rapidly. But, this study could spark new methods of restoring seagrasses — all thanks to our furry, watery wingmen.

Up Next

One Cool Thing: Environmental DNA

One Cool Thing: Environmental DNA

UNESCO has launched a new program to collect, analyze, and monitor environmental DNA (AKA eDNA) to better understand biodiversity at its marine World Heritage sites. Scientists will collect genetic material from fish cells, mucus, and waste across multiple locations along with eDNA from soil, water, and air.   The two-year project will help experts assess […]

Continue Reading 136 words
“Ticking Time Bomb” Oil Tanker Threatens Food & Water Supply for Millions

“Ticking Time Bomb” Oil Tanker Threatens Food & Water Supply for Millions

By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor An abandoned oil tanker off the coast of Yemen is deteriorating rapidly, and experts say that a hull breach could have far-reaching environmental impacts and threaten millions of people’s access to food and water supplies. The FSO SAFER tanker holds 1.1 million barrels of oil — more than four […]

Continue Reading 437 words
Oil Spill the Tea

Oil Spill the Tea

Last weekend, an estimated 144,000 gallons of heavy crude oil leaked from an underwater pipeline in California, making for one of the largest spills in recent state history. While federal regulators have enacted protections for some federal lands and waters, they’re still a long way from reaching President Biden’s 30×30 goal. But the longer they […]

Continue Reading 94 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.