A Sea of Change: Our Outreach Mission

Elkhorn Slough Sea Otter Study

A comfortably sedated sea otter receives a thorough physical examination. (Photo: Cindy Serraino)

The Southern Sea Otter Research Alliance is comprised of a group of scientists and researchers from the central coast of California that came together more than a decade ago. We work together on research focused on the conservation and recovery of the threatened Southern sea otter species and the ecosystems they live in. Together, with all the science and knowledge we generate, we believe that the information gathered is vital and should be shared with our community. We hope the more people know of the problems effecting this species, the more we can all do to try and save them before it’s too late.

We aim to share awareness by bringing the community together and promoting public desire for marine knowledge through outreach efforts. Only through cooperation and consensus can the changes required to improve marine ecosystem health and sea otter recovery be realized. This is why we are working hard to increase public awareness of sea otter conservation and recovery issues and what can be done to help make a difference.

Some of our outreach efforts include classroom presentations, information distribution at public events, maintaining blogs on current news and contributing to both professional and popular written media. Seaotters.com is another way for us to share the information we learn with the people in our community.

During the past couple of months, we held school presentations throughout the Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, with school grades ranging from elementary to high school. The presentations are aimed not only to educate students about sea otter conservation but also overall marine health, which also effects the health of people. The students learned about sea otters through presentations given by scientists as well as interacting with sea otter pelts and skulls and playing a fun game that teaches about the lives of marine animals and the challenges they face. As a whole, the alliance reached out to almost 1,800 students and were welcomed into 16 schools! We are also partnering with local educational groups, such as the educational outreach efforts of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Seymour Marine Discovery Center in Santa Cruz and the Elkhorn Slough Foundation, to continue to reach out to our children through more local programs.

The alliance is expanding its outreach not only through traditional educational routes but we are also interested in working more closely with our Spanish-speaking communities. Recently, using funds provided by the California Coastal Conservancy for enhancing public outreach, I was hired to help carry out both English and Spanish language outreach efforts. Working closely with other outreach groups, we hope to work with after-school programs, local libraries and low-income groups in our community.

We aim that by getting everyone to work together, our community can achieve the goal of ocean preservation. Together, we can make a difference in the health of the marine ecosystem and the health of everyone in our community. Because, science isn’t just for scientists, science helps us understand the world we live in so we can learn how to protect it for future generations.

To learn more about the the Southern Sea Otter Research Alliance, visit



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About seaotters.com

Seaotters.com is dedicated to raising awareness about California's threatened sea otters and the role research plays in the species recovery and conservation. It's a collaboration of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, U.C. Santa Cruz, U.C. Davis, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, among others. Seaotters.com is also home of the world's first HD live stream of southern sea otters in the wild.