Sea Drinks is a gathering of people and organizations who care about marine life and ocean conservation. The purpose of the Sea Drinks events, which are held once a month in various Dana Point bars and restaurants, is to get like-minded folks together in order to share ideas about how to promote ocean awareness. Water Gallery has started to raffle off two of our reusable water bottles at each Sea Drinks event and we are thrilled to attend these monthly meeting to promote a cause near and dear to our heart.
Nancy Caruso, a marine biologist who has dedicated her time to restoring California's Orange County kelp, abalone, and sea otter populations, spoke at the May 2015 Sea Drinks gathering and educated us all on the rapidly diminishing numbers of the aforementioned groups. She explained to us the importance of restoring these populations. Kelp, a type of seaweed, is a major oxygen-producer for our atmosphere. According to seaotters.com, kelp pulls huge amounts of carbon from the atmosphere, turning it into what's called "sugar fuel" with the help of water and the sun's rays, in turn releasing oxygen back into the air. But the problem is that various herbivorous invertebrates, such as urchins, feed on the kelp and with the absence of kelp, we lose out on a hugely beneficial oxygen-providing mechanism on Earth. Here's where the sea otters come in-- they consume these kelp-eating invertebrates, allowing the kelp forests to flourish in the invertebrates' absence. Where you see large amounts of kelp at the beach or on a deep sea dive, you can be sure there are sea otters around. Sadly, sea otters are facing extinction.
The biggest threat to the sea otter population is human beings-- starting with fur trappers in the 1700 and 1800s, and moving on to shellfisheries, who view sea otters as the biggest competition to their business since shellfish are sea otters' primary sustenance. And of course, oil pollution puts all sea life in peril. A major victim of overfishing has been the white abalone, which is a major food source for sea otters. Although the abalone do feed on the kelp, restoring the abalone population is a key in preserving the sea otter population. It's a delicate ecological balance, one that deserves our attention.
The next logical question is, how can we non-marine biologists and non-scientists help preserve the sea otter population and the marine ecosystem? According to seaotters.org, there are several easy things we as individuals and families can do to help and they all revolve around living a more eco friendly life overall. Start by reducing use of any oil-based products. Refrain from using plastic water bottles and styrofoam containers. Utilize refillable and reusable water bottles and containers. Walk, bike, and use public transportation whenever possible. We can make a difference in our everyday lives. And of course we at Water Gallery think our reusable, refillable glass water bottles are a fantastic way to contribute to the cause of ocean and environmental protection!