Presentation Abstract

We compared sea otter recovery in California (CA) and British Columbia (BC) to determine how key ecosystem properties shape top-down effects in seagrass communities. Potential ecosystem drivers of sea otter foraging in CA and BC seagrass beds that we examined include the role of coastline complexity and environmental stress on sea otter effects. In BC, we found greater species richness across seagrass trophic assemblages. Furthermore, Cancer spp. crabs, an important link in the seagrass trophic cascade observed in CA, was less common. Additionally, the more recent reintroduction of sea otters, more complex coastline, and reduced environmental stress in BC seagrass habitats supported the hypothesis that sea otter foraging pressure is currently reduced in more northern latitudes. 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 re- search.

Session Title

Seagrass Cross-border Connections: Status and Trends

Keywords

Sea otters, Seagrass

Conference Track

SSE4: Ecosystem Management, Policy, and Protection

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE4-281

Start Date

5-4-2018 10:15 AM

End Date

5-4-2018 10:30 AM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 5th, 10:15 AM Apr 5th, 10:30 AM

North to south: ecosystem features determine seagrass community response to sea otter foraging

We compared sea otter recovery in California (CA) and British Columbia (BC) to determine how key ecosystem properties shape top-down effects in seagrass communities. Potential ecosystem drivers of sea otter foraging in CA and BC seagrass beds that we examined include the role of coastline complexity and environmental stress on sea otter effects. In BC, we found greater species richness across seagrass trophic assemblages. Furthermore, Cancer spp. crabs, an important link in the seagrass trophic cascade observed in CA, was less common. Additionally, the more recent reintroduction of sea otters, more complex coastline, and reduced environmental stress in BC seagrass habitats supported the hypothesis that sea otter foraging pressure is currently reduced in more northern latitudes. 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 re- search.