In order to investigate the effect of marine recreation and other human activities on sea otters, as well monitor changes in disturbance levels as our outreach measures unfold, Sea Otter Savvy has implemented a research program in collaboration with scientists and students from the Southern Sea Otter Research Alliance. Our method of data collection will include a randomized approach in which sea otter behavior and activity, and the number, type, and proximity of a range of factors that may trigger behavior change, are recorded and contrasted between sites of predicted high and lower levels of disturbance.
Ragnheiður "Rakel" Dawn Hanson is an Icelandic master’s student who completed her MSc in Global Wildlife Health and Conservations through the University of Bristol, UK in 2019. She focused her final report on topics on human-wildlife interactions, writing about the sea otter tourism industry and sea otter value orientations among stakeholders in the Montrey Bay area. Her goals are to continue research on human-wildlife interactions as well as explore wildlife filmmaking.
Read Rakel's complete thesis here
Current Research Study Sites
Are you interested in helping further this important research?
Join the Sea Otter Savvy Citizen Science Team! Volunteers and interns are responsible for collecting the majority of our data on the relationship between sea otter activity and marine recreation at our “Disturbance Hot Spots”. Volunteers with partnering agencies and organizations (Friends of the Sea Otter, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, UC Santa Cruz, Caly Poly San Luis Obispo) team up to monitor how sea otters respond to the presence of an array of potential sources of disturbance, and share information about sea otters and respectful sea otter viewing with the public. Participate in the important research that provides the foundation for the work we do: join our citizen science team!