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Sea otters are crucial indicators of the health of our nearshore waters and coastal resources, from kelp forests to fisheries. What clues does the sea otter's decline hold for our knowledge of ecosystem and global change? U.S. and Canadian researchers have teamed together to  investigate.



  • The Investigation
    Explore the scene and hunt for clues in sea otters and the nearshore ecosystem
  • A Team Effort
    Meet the investigators and partners and see where they work
  • For Policymakers
    Retrieve memos and contacts explaining project implications for your region
  • For Media
    Download press kits and multimedia packages
  • For Scientists/Managers
    Look up detailed study plans, publications and briefings generated by project scientists
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Solving a Mystery

Like crime scene detectives, a team of scientists is using techniques such as DNA analysis, forensic evidenceisotope chemistry and satellite imagery to investigate the health of our Pacific nearshore ecosystem and one of its most recognizable organisms -- the sea otter.

Meet the project team membersexplore their mission objectives (left menu) and follow their latest news and journal entries (right menu).

The Pacific Nearshore Project is led by the USGS Alaska Science Center, USGS Western Ecological Research Center and the USGS Western Fisheries Science Center, in close collaboration with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and many other American and Canadian partners.


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