Sea Otter Awareness Week

September 19 - 25, 2021

Annually, throughout the last week of September, we celebrate sea otters during Sea Otter Awareness Week. We encourage zoological and educational institutions, governmental agencies and communities to plan and undertake events that highlight sea otters. These activities include sharing stories, disseminating science and generating media that inspire a deeper awareness of these unique marine mammals, their ecological importance and the many challenges they face.

Events Calendar

Untangling California's Kelp Forests: How a Marine Heatwave and a Sea Star Catastrophe Unveiled an Ecosystem Mosaic

12:00 - 1:00 PM PDT
Host: Point Reyes National Seashore Association, in association with Sea Otter Savvy
Kick off Sea Otter Awareness week with Joshua Smith, Ph.D. to see how the double-whammy of two unprecedented events—a marine heatwave and a die-off of sea stars—led to a sea urchin outbreak that has ravaged kelp and how this changing ecosystem helped fine-tune our understanding of the critical role sea otters play in the kelp forest mosaic.

Science Sunday: Recovery of Sea Otters in the Northeast Pacific

1:30 - 2:30 PM PDT
Host: Seymour Marine Discovery Center
Sea otters are a model species for investigating how the recovery of a top marine predator impacts ocean ecosystems. As sea otters expand into new regions and habitats, such as saltmarsh ecosystems, they are unraveling secrets previously unknown to science. Join Brent Hughes, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at Sonoma State University, to learn more about the sea otter’s ecological role in seagrass beds and how collaborative research ties to the conservation of sea otters in the Northeast Pacific.

Marine Mammal Monday: Sea Otters and San Francisco

4:00 - 5:00 PM PDT
Host: The Marine Mammal Center
Sophia Lyon, M.S. and Jane Rudebusch, M.S. will relate findings from their graduate research on sea otters at the northern extent of their range in California and on the potential for migration into areas of their historical range in San Francisco Bay and northern California.

 

In-person Event: Oakland Athletics Game Features We Were Here

6:40 - 9:00 PM PDT
Address: 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland, CA 94621
Attend (or watch on TV) Monday's Oakland Athletics game and follow the As (@Athletics) on Twitter to learn more about the We Were Here program!*

Float Down the Coast Livestream*

12:00 - 1:00 PM PDT
Host: Sea Otter Savvy and California State Parks
Sea otter experts will report live from as far north as Washington or British Columbia and all along the California coast south to Baja to share some science and stories about sea otters. Here's the lineup as it stands now.

 

*A We Were Here Event

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Sea Otter Awareness Week Logo

Check Out These Sea Otter Viewing Stations

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Sea Otter Family in Morro Bay
Image Credit
John R. Gentile
John R. Gentile

At specific times on specific days during Sea Otter Awareness Week, volunteers with spotting scopes, binoculars and knowledge will help you see wild sea otters along the central California coast and will answer all your sea otter questions.

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Southern sea otters float at Moss Landing, California.
Image Credit
Lilian Carswell/USFWS

All Week, Check Out These Sea Otter Cams!

Elkhorn Slough
OtterCam

Georgia Aquarium
Southern Sea Otter Webcam

Oregon Coast Aquarium
Sea Otter Live Camera

Seattle Aquarium
Otter Cams

Monterey Bay Aquarium
Sea Otter Cam

 

Join Defenders of Wildlife’s Sea Otter Facebook Group

Also follow our hashtags:

#SeaOtterAwarenessWeek

#SOAW2021

#EcosystemMosaic 

#WeWereHere

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sea otter mural
Image Credit
Juan Lopez
Juan Lopez

This year’s theme follows the idea of the sea otter’s ecosystem as a mosaic in which the removal of key elements or damage to the system’s structure renders the ecological picture incomplete. 

A mosaic relies on each piece of tile to contribute to a complete image. Similarly, a thousand tiny elements must coexist to form an ecosystem. Removing pieces from a mosaic equates to losing vital components of an ecosystem. As more parts are removed, the value of the art or the ecosystem diminishes.

Sea otters float in nearshore waters like gems or chips of porcelain, and when they vanish, those waters lose their luster. We have the power and the obligation to curate the natural world like fine art, but managing complex biological systems takes care and planning and good intentions. As we celebrate sea otters, let’s also remember the worth of each portion of the living mosaic where they reside, and let’s take care of it.

Previous Themes:

2020 - Bridging the Gaps

The banner image for this web page derives from a mural called “Otters’ Delight,” created and installed by mosaic artist Juan Lopez at Montclair Elementary School in Oakland, CA. Unveiled in June 2015, the 25-foot-long mural depicts two sea otters diving in a vibrant kelp forest. Please visit Juan’s website to see more of his incredible work!

This week is organized and sponsored by Defenders of Wildlife, Sea Otter Savvy and California Department of Parks and Recreation.

Wildlife and Wild Places

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