Sea Otters Threatened by Toxic Algae Blooms
Toxic algae blooms are threatening sea otter populations by poisoning their prey — and the climate crisis is making it worse.
A study published in the journal Harmful Algae found that sea otters exposed to domoic acid in their food chains are 1.7x more likely to die of heart disease.
Domoic acid is a neurotoxin produced by harmful algal blooms, which occur when the water is unusually warm.
Domoic acid contaminates the otters’ prey, accumulating in the tissues of crabs and shellfish.