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Of the many organisms found in marine ecosystems, sea otters p

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Manager
Manager
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Joined: 23 Sep 2013
Posts: 105

Kudos [?]: 26 [0], given: 80

Concentration: Strategy, Marketing
WE: Engineering (Computer Software)
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Of the many organisms found in marine ecosystems, sea otters p [#permalink]

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New post 25 Sep 2014, 10:17
Of the many organisms found in marine ecosystems, sea otters play a uniquely significant role in maintaining their environments. Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) are a keystone species, a species whose effect on their environment is disproportionately great relative to their size in numbers or weight. Keystone species keep the growth of populations of other species in check and are thereby a determining factor of the type and number of other species in a community; keystone species are so named because their role is analogous to that of a keystone in an arch: while keystones bear the least amount of pressure among the components of an arch, the arch collapses without them.

The sea otter's reputation as a keystone species is largely a consequence of its affinity for sea urchins. Sea otters are known to prey upon over 100 different species, but the bulk of their diet consists of sea urchins and other marine invertebrates. Sea urchins are such highly preferred prey that sea otters have been known to significantly deplete urchin populations. In marine ecosystems at equilibrium, however, sea otters are often the primary force that keeps populations of sea urchins in check. Without sea otters, sea urchins and other seafloor herbivores would graze on kelp holdfasts, causing kelp to drift away from their substrates and die. The aggregate result of many such events leads to the destruction of entire kelp beds, resulting in a loss of habitat and nutrients for other organisms in the ecosystem. The extended consequences include local extinction of other species and vast urchin barrens: subtidal areas where the unchecked population growth of sea urchins has caused a dearth of kelp and, therefore, other marine species.

This ecological cascade effect of secondary extinctions resulting from a decrease in otter populations and corresponding growth in urchin populations was observed throughout the 19th century along the Pacific coast of North America. Sea otters had been aggressively hunted for their rich pelts since before the 1600s, and this practice was not outlawed until an international treaty was signed in 1911 to prevent further exploitation. Prior to the enforcement of the treaty, hunters caused sea otter populations to decline; this in turn caused sea urchin populations to explode. Consequently, the urchin populations overexploited their primary food source, kelp, creating a preponderance of urchin barrens.
The author's tone towards sea otters could best be described as

A) disdainful
B) dispassionate
C) concerned
D) critical
E) jovial

Kudos [?]: 26 [0], given: 80

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Of the many organisms found in marine ecosystems, sea otters p [#permalink]

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New post 16 Sep 2017, 01:02
Option B-> Dispassionate

As author is indifferent towards Sea Otters.

Kudos [?]: 7 [0], given: 218

Of the many organisms found in marine ecosystems, sea otters p   [#permalink] 16 Sep 2017, 01:02
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Of the many organisms found in marine ecosystems, sea otters p

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