Sea Otters: Their Role in Structuring Nearshore Communities

Science  20 Sep 1974:
Vol. 185, Issue 4156, pp. 1058-1060
DOI: 10.1126/science.185.4156.1058


A comparison of western Aleutian Islands with and without sea otter populations shows that this species is important in determining littoral and sublittoral community structure. Sea otters control herbivorous invertebrate populations. Removal of sea otters causes increased herbivory and ultimately results in the destruction of macrophyte associations. The observations suggest that sea otter reestablishment indirectly affects island fauna associated with macrophyte primary productivity.

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