Fertilizer runoff has led to a global decline in seagrass meadows, which provide crucial habitat for fish. But thanks to the return of sea otters, these meadows are flourishing in a major estuary in California, scientists say.
Fertilizer from farms in Salinas flows into Monterey Bay, carrying phosphates and other nutrients that fuel the growth of algae to the detriment of seagrass leaves.
Thanks to conservation efforts, with sea otter populations returning and crabs in their diet, the food chain is back in balance, resulting in fewer crabs that were wiping out sea slugs, which clean off the algae from seagrass leaves.
(READ the story in the LA Times)