South Slough Reserve presents 'Science on Screen' feature on sea otters

(Photos via South Slough Reserve)

CHARLESTON, Ore. -- The South Slough Reserve is offering folks a chance to get out of the rain and learn all about animals who love being wet - otters.

There are 13 species of otters worldwide and you’ll learn about two of them on Sunday, February 11 at 2 p.m.

Reserve Lead Scientist Angela Doroff will give a presentation on sea otters followed by a film about a river otter, “Ring of Brightwater,” at the historic Egyptian Theatre.

Reserve staff and representatives from the Elakha Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of sea otters and a healthy marine ecosystem on the Oregon coast, will be in the lobby sharing information preceding and following the film.

Admission is free thanks to grants from the Alfred P. Slone Foundation and Coos County Cultural Coalition. Organizers say to consider taking some of the cash you save and donating it to help the Reserve Science Internship program.

The Presentation

Who in the animal kingdom uses tools to crack open food? Chimpanzees, long-tailed macaques, bearded capuchin monkeys… and sea otters! Their nearest relatives are river otters, but sea otters have evolved to live exclusively along the nearshore coasts in cold water. Sea otters are “handy” and pick snails from kelp and rocks and dig deep in the mud for clams. They are only mammals that catch fish with their forepaws rather than their teeth. Some sea otters use a tool to open prey and methods are learned and refined from mother to pup through generations and through social learning.

Before arriving at the South Slough Reserve, Lead Scientist Angela Doroff worked in Alaska for 28 years in the field of marine biology. Her specialty was working with sea otters, though she also worked on long-term water quality and shoreline monitoring, sea-level rise projections, and ocean acidification programs at the Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. At the South Slough, she continues to work on estuary science, helping fill data gaps and information needs for local decision-makers and the community.

The Elakha Alliance was created in the spirit of the original Elakha Alliance organized nearly twenty years ago to promote restoration of sea otters to the coastal ecosystem.

The Egyptian Theatre is the recipient of a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation via the Coolidge Corner Theatre to produce a series of movies for Science on Screen, “creative pairings of classic, cult, and documentary films with lively introductions by notable figures from the world of science, technology, and medicine.”

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