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In the News

KQED: In Bay Area, Even Sea Otters Have Wearable Med

  • Telemetry
  • Species conservation

In Bay Area, Even Sea Otters Have Wearable Med

Published by KQED: September 13, 2017

On a recent Thursday, Otto skipped his $12 seafood breakfast to prepare for surgery. The 8-year-old southern sea otter was poisoned by exposure to toxic algae, likely after eating a batch of crabs. Toxic algae forms in warming ocean waters and produces a neurotoxin called domoic acid. This neurotoxin concentrates as it moves up the food chain, and it can cause seizures in marine animals and humans. During the winter of 2015 to 2016, domoic acid poisoning shut down the commercial crab season for more than four months.

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Header image: photo by Bill Hunnewell © The Marine Mammal Center / USFWS permit MA101713-1

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