Metabolic costs of anthropogenic disturbance in Sea Otters

Investigating the energetic cost of anthropogenic disturbance to Sea Otters (Enhydra lutris) in Monterey Bay. 

(In collaboration with Gena Bentall of Sea Otter SavvyDr. Tim Tinker, and under the guidance of Dr. Gitte McDonald)

This project focuses on expanding our knowledge of anthropogenic disturbance, determining metabolic costs, and exploring the implications for the sea otter population of Monterey Bay. Heather Barrett is working with Sea Otter Savvy and Dr. Tim Tinker’s lab at University of California, Santa Cruz to investigate the energetic cost of human disturbance to sea otters.

This collaborative project will expand our understanding of physiological limits of the sea otter, and demonstrate how human disturbance directly affects their daily energetic demands. Our goal is to create a model that predicts sea otteractivity based on disturbance distance, which provides a critical tool for regulatory agencies to implement distance policies to protect wildlife. This project’s partnership among universities, agencies, and the public, offers a foundation for collaboration, citizen science, and public outreach to promote applied science and education for the Monterey Bay.

For those interested in volunteering please visit Sea Otter Savvy’s webpage to learn more about how the public can minimize their impact on sea otters and other wildlife.