Photo: Sea otter revels in the kelp

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We love this photo by Sam McMillan of a Pacific sea otter wrapped in kelp at Morro Bay. First of all, it's just so cute, come on! But also because it reminds us of what an important role otters play in the health of the coast. Otters feast on sea urchins and other invertebrates that graze on kelp, and in doing so the otters help protect the kelp and allow it to thrive. Not only does the kelp provide crucial habitat for a number of species, but kelp forests protect the coastline from storm surge and flooding as well as absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Who doesn't love a happy ecosystem?

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