Fish Populations in Kelp Forests Without Sea Otters: Effects of Severe Storm Damage and Destructive Sea Urchin Grazing
As the top predator in a three-level system, the sea otter (Enhydra lutris) can prevent local extinction of kelps and other algae at the bottom level by reducing numbers of sea urchins and other grazers at the second level (Estes and Palmisano 1974; Estes et al. 1978; Duggins 1980; Estes and Harrold, this Vol.; Laur et al., this Vol.). A high algal biomass, in turn, may create an environment favorable for greater numbers of finfish at the third level by sustaining a characteristic detritus-based food web (Simenstad et al. 1978; VanBlaricom 1984; Ebeling et al. 1985; Duggins, this Vol.) and providing cover for newly born or settled young (Coyer 1979; Miller and Geibel 1973; Ebeling and Laur 1985; M. Carr, Univ. California Santa Barbara, pers. commun.).
KeywordsBiomass Migration Depression Shale Assure
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