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Southern Sea Case

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Chapter 5 FRQ Question 1

Aneeta Xavier



i. The southern sea otter population in sea otter populations mating reached 2,500 in 2004

ii. The population increased between 1997 and 2007

iii. It would take the sea otter population around 50 years for the numbers to stabilize at 8,400 individuals

b. The sea otter population is harmed because of hunting. When Americans first came to California, there was a huge multitude of sea otter. However, people started to notice the thick luxurious fur that otters had and killed them for their fur. Humans also hunted the sea otter because the sea otter were direct competitors for the musells, clams, and oysters the people wanted.. Humans killed off their nearest competitor to have the most shellfish for food. Cat litter has parasites. California home owners flush used kitty litter down the toilet, and that water with the protozoans ends up being in the same water that sea otter live in. The sea otter do not have resistance to the bacteria, and thus die off.

c. Sea otter and other organisms such as elephants are found in clumps because living in clumps protects them from predators such as the orca. The predators usually kill the weak or most "unfit" members of society so only the strong survive and reproduce. Additonally, finding resources is much easier to do in a group rather than an individual. Clumps tend to be a ibit like families, and the other members will often care for their young and mating will be much easier because the animals would find mates in their clump. Predators such as wolves also have an advantage because they hunt in packs, so it is easy to ambush and kill animals because they would work together to find a kill.

d. Sea otters are keystone species, or the species that help regulate population in a ecosystem. Sea otters eat sea urchin. The sea urchin prey on the kelp forests. When the sea otters are not there to keep the sea urchin population under control, the sea urchin population rises and eats most of the kelp forests. The sea urchin are the biggest threat to the kelp forests. Kelp forests are the most biologically productive habitats in the marine environment. Losing kelp forests would be a huge loss of biodiversity. Without the kelp forests, species that live in there would die because of loss of habitat.



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