Sea otters can sense prey using their whiskers. Food webs are built from food chains.All forms of life in the sea have the potential to become food for another life form. A sea otter eats in the water, lying on its back, with its food on its chest. omnivores. Sea otters use rocks to crack open the spiny shells of sea urchins. Otters weigh 35-90 pounds (males weigh more than females). Sea otters eat fish and marine invertebrates like crabs, urchins, sea stars, and abalone, as well as squid and octopuses. Make a Sea Otter Food Web Age: 5+ Education Blurb: Just a few hundred years ago, sea otters peppered the west coast of America and Canada. Pups begin to dive and forage at about 2 months. Tertiary Consumer- Sea Otter. .. Indirect food web interactions: sea otters and kelp forest fishes in the Aleutian archipelago Received: 24 January 2005/ Accepted: 25 July 2005/Published online: 27 September 2005 Springer-Verlag 2005 Abstract Although trophic cascades—the effect of apex predators on … They spend most of their time floating on their backs. Individual otters in an area seem to have different prey preferences. 7. The sea otter (Enhydra lutris) is the smallest marine mammal. If you come across a sea otter you think is sick, injured or abandoned, please give it space and call The Marine Mammal Center’s stranding hotline at (415) 289-7325. Organisms in an ecosystem affect each other’s population. Most species are entirely dependent on aquatic habitats for food. In their role as predators, otters help regulate the local population of the organisms they consume. How Do Sea Otters Eat? Their body shape aids in helping them make sudden turns to catch fish and other prey. Sea urchins, crabs, squid, octopus and fish also make tasty meals for a sea otter. Secondary Consumers- Octopus and Large Fish. If sea otters are not present, then urchin populations boom, which leads to overgrazing — killing all the kelp — and creating a wasteland known as an urchin barren. River otters possess long, muscular bodies suited to their life on both land and in water. Secondary Consumers- Octopus and Large Fish. Food Web, Sea Otters. She serves as the executive director of the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation. The sea otter is part of a complex food web, involving many different types of marine life. How do changes in the ecosystem effect the community? The sea otter. Some of these animals have hard shells, which protect them from predators. Which animal is the Decomposer? The population of species in a food chain is shown using a pyramid of numbers. * Sea Urchin Kelp Crab Large Fish. The food chain/food webs; Otters and the rest of the Mustelid family; A year in the life of an otter; Otters and Man – Roads, Pollution, Oil, Habitat Loss, Fishing, Fur … Sea Otter 101, Ocean Today, NOAA. Quiz Answers. The food sea otters eat can impact the entire ecosystem in which they live. In the ocean, a food chain typically starts with energy from the sun powering phytoplankton, and follows a course such as: . They have thick fur that generates heat to keep their bodies warm. To create a food web… River otters (genus Lutra) inhabit all types of inland waterways, as well as estuaries and marine coves. Giant otters (genus Pteronura) are found mainly in slow-moving rivers and creeks within forests, swamps, and marshes. Sea otters are one of the only mammals that are been known to use tools to obtain and eat their prey. The sea otter spends most of its time in the water but, in some locations, comes ashore to sleep or rest. Diet. If the otter didn't eat the sea urchins and keep their numbers down, the urchins would eat all of the kelp. Sea otters are distributed throughout the northern Pacific Ocean and are restricted to coastal regions because they collect their food (mostly crabs, clams, mussels, and sea urchins) from the ocean floor. Every link in a food web is connected to at least two others. Another underwater superlative: The sea otter is the only marine mammal capable of flipping over boulders on the sea floor—in this case to search out food. In this lesson you will study examples of actual food webs to become familiar with the organization of these diagrams and develop an understanding of the information about an ecosystem that they contain. Sea otters dive to rocky reefs, where they collect invertebrates and also a large rock. A three-minute animated cartoon about sea otters; Ecosystems: ... Food webs are models that demonstrate how matter and energy are transferred among producers, consumers, and decomposers as the three groups interact within an ecosystem. Enter a kelp forest and explore the various threads that connect species together in food webs. Overall, if the octopus died out many animals would be hungry. This, in turn, provides shelter for sea otter pups and a variety of other marine life, including fish. Food chains and food webs describe feeding relationships. These furry marine mammals are one of only a few marine animals known to use tools to obtain their food. 6. Otters are usually found no more than a few hundred meters from water. But the sea otter’s habitat is unique, as they only live in shallow coastal waters in the North Pacific ocean. Although capable of walking on land, otters may spend their whole lives in water. Their toes are webbed, they have short legs and they boast a tapered tail ranging up to 15 inches long. Sea otters live in the Pacific Ocean and are found in Russia, Alaska, Washington state and California. Tufted Puffin In the Monterey Bay Aquarium you can walk around and explore all the different animals and even touch some of them Black Oystercatcher Ocean Birds in Monterey Bay Monterey Bay Aquarium The tanks include schools of fish, sharks, tuna, and so many other types of fish As predators that are near the top of the food chain, otters are hugely important for keeping their environments balanced. Scientists have long known that sea otters have a big impact on coastal ecosystems. Sea otters are an important regulator of the kelp forest food web. Apex Predator- Great White Shark. Food Web Symbiotic Relationships Natural Selection Works Cited QuIz. * ... Sea Otter Great White Shark Hagfish Crab. This balance helps the ecosystem maintain and recycle biomass. Report a Stranded Otter. In maintaining kelp forests, sea otters also help to reduce levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). Th… Photograph: Noel Hendrickson/Getty Images. Sea otters have been found to play a pivotal role in the habitat and marine life that inhabit a kelp forest. Otters (both sea and river otters) play a notable role in the animal food chain. Later studies of high—density populations showed a wider variety of foods consumed, with fish an important component of the diet. Using their webbed feet, which are well adapted for swimming, sea otters can dive more than 200 feet and stay underwater for up to 5 minutes. While a food chain shows how ecosystems function in a linear way, a food web is a more visual approach with multiple animals connected to one another. Take notes as you read this information and answer the questions listed in each lesson. Sea otters feed mostly on sea urchins, mollusks, crustaceans, and fish. This allows other marine, and even terrestrial animals, to have abundant amounts of prey. Submit. Food Web Answers - Sea Otters. The biomass of an ecosystem depends on how balanced and connected its food web is. A study in California found that among an otter population, different otters specialized in diving at different depths to find different prey items. Shown above is the answers to all of the multiple choice question in my survey along with some additional information. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, Neritic Zone: Definition, Animal Life, and Characteristics, 5 Environmental Consequences of Oil Spills, Echinoderms: Starfish, Sand Dollars, and Sea Urchins, M.S., Resource Administration and Management, University of New Hampshire, B.S., Natural Resources, Cornell University. Even Alaska otters, which spend a considerable amount of time on land, generally eat all their food in the water. food web. Upon returning to the surface, they float on their backs, with the rock on the stomachs. They also use their agile front paws to find and grasp their prey. Sea otters eat sea urchins, abalone, other shellfish, snails, and occasionally other animals unique to a particular area. Without them, the sea urchin population would boom out of control, eating all the kelp, causing a population crash. Primary Consumers- Sea Urchin and Crabs. For example, sea otters eating snails in Monterey Bay appear more likely to contract Toxoplama gondii, a parasite found in cat feces. The Harbor seal is native to the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The sea otter must consume between 25 and 40 percent of its body weight daily, just to keep warm. River otters belong to the weasel family. Sea otters obtain their food by diving. Sea otters eat a wide variety of prey, including marine invertebrates such as echinoderms (sea stars and sea urchins), crustaceans (e.g., crabs), cephalopods (e.g., squid), bivalves (clams, mussels, abalone), gastropods (snails), and chitons. While a host of human impacts are to blame for keeping otters near the edge of extinction today (loss of habitat, competition, diseases, oil spills), it was the fur trade Using their webbed feet, which are well adapted for swimming, sea otters can dive more than 200 feet and stay underwater for up to 5 minutes. A sea otter may remove an abalone by repeatedly hitting it with a rock. What would happen to the ecosystem if the Octopus go extinct? But that isn't an issue for the talented sea otter, which cracks open the shells by … They can use a rock to dislodge mollusks and urchins from the rocks where they are attached. And the only marine mammal to catch fish with its forepaws and not its mouth. Sea otters are foragers that eat mostly hard-shelled invertebrates, including sea urchins and a variety of clams, mussels, and crabs. Jennifer Kennedy, M.S., is an environmental educator specializing in marine life. Sea otters are omnivorous mammals that live on the west coast pacific ocean. Earlier studies of sea otter food suggested that low—density populations of sea otters consume primarily sea urchins and mollusks in the western Aleutian Islands. They can store extra food, and rocks used as tools, in these pockets. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Otters carry a rock most of the time to break the exoskeleton of its prey. This tail serves to propel the otters through water. Sea otters have loose skin and baggy "pockets" underneath their forelimbs. The sea otter inhabits nearshore environments, where it dives to the sea floor to forage. Feb 24, 2012 - Sea Otter Populations are doing really well, but they are eating all the shellfish and the Fishermen don't like it...What should they do? Their importance in maintaining kelp forests by preying on animals that graze on kelp is especially well documented. Sea otters can sense prey using their whiskers. These dietary preferences may also make certain otters susceptible to disease. They also use their agile front paws to find and grasp their prey. River otters are smaller than their cousins, the sea otters. They use the rock as a table against which they smash their shelled prey to g… Their fur is thick a… It also uses a flat rock to break open the shells of crustaceans and mollusks. Sea otter moms typically nurse and care for … They have an interesting method of eating their prey. Sea otters live in a cold ocean environment and rely on two traits to keep warm: a dense fur coat for insulation and very high metabolism to generate body heat. This means that they eat both animals and plants. It preys mostly on marine invertebrates such as sea urchins, various molluscs and crustaceans, and some species of fish. There are deep-diving otters that eat benthic organisms such as urchins, crabs, and abalone, medium-diving otters that forage for clams and worms and others that feed at the surface on organisms such as snails. Sea otters are omnivores. Otters live in a wide variety of watery locations, from the mighty Amazon to the heart of Singapore. Sea otters eat about 20-30% of their body weight each day. Producers- Kelp and Seaweed. Once at the surface, they often eat by placing the food on their stomachs, and then placing a rock on their stomachs and then smashing the prey on the rock to open it and get at the flesh inside. If the octopus were to die out, the whole food web would be affected. Newborn sea otter pups are so buoyant they can’t immediately dive for food. Sea otters are a ‘keystone species’ within kelp forests, maintaining the balance in the food web between kelp and sea urchins, allowing the forests to thrive. Creating a food web is a really great way to learn more about how organisms and animals live in their natural habitats. Create your own unique website with customizable templates. The sea otter ecosystem is largely made up of thick kelp forests. The animals that eat the octopus like the sea otter would have to eat more of the other secondary consumers meaning that there would be less of them. In southern Chile the marine otter is found almost exclusively along exposed rocky seashores; farther north it may inhabit estuaries and fresh water. This kind of chain reaction in a food web is known to ecologists as a "trophic cascade." In a kelp forest, sea urchins can graze on the kelp and eat their holdfasts, resulting in deforesting the kelp from an area. A healthy food web has an abundance of autotrophs, many herbivores, and relatively few carnivores and omnivores. Sea otters obtain their food by diving. * What are the Primary Consumers? Sea otters are known to wrap their pups and themselves in kelp to keep from drifting out to sea. Ocean Food Web. Sea otters have a high metabolic rate (that is, they use a high amount of energy) that is 2-3 times that of other mammals their size. The males are polygynous as they may take up multiple female partners. Since the other secondary consumers are being eaten predators of that animals will have less to eat which means they could possibly which affects other parts of the food web. Within these forests, sea otters prey on sea urchins, which graze heavily on kelp. Tune into our LIVE Sea Otter Cam for your daily dose of sea otter cuteness. So, a 50-pound otter would need to eat about 10-15 pounds of food per day. Its foraging and eating habits are noteworthy in several respects. As prey, otters provide a great source of nutrients to animals that hunt them for food. phytoplankton → herbivorous zooplankton → carnivorous zooplankton → filter feeder → predatory vertebrate But if sea otters are abundant, they eat sea urchins and keep the urchin population in check, which allows kelp to flourish. This metabolism needs to be continually stoked with energy in the form of food, and sea otters must consume as much as 25% of their body weight each day in order to stay warm and survive.

sea otter food web

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