By digging for food in eelgrass beds, sea otters increase eelgrass genetic diversity and make eelgrass more resilient to environmental change. Like most of the world's large animals, sea otters were severely reduced through human impacts, but they are a rare conservation success story that show us how species recovery can build resilience in today's ecosystems.
Erin recently completed her PhD at the University of Victoria, studying sea otter ecology in eelgrass systems, and late-Holocene effects of sea otters on clams and ancestral Indigenous clam gardens. She is currently a postdoctoral Research Scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, researching local grey whale foraging ecology, and ancient sea otter occupancy of eelgrass meadows. Erin grew up on the BC coast and is interested in ecological processes that affect coastal systems over long time scales.