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Image of the Day: Otters Are Climate-Saving Creatures

Credit: mikebaird/flickr

After studying 40 years worth of data, researchers from the University of California Santa Cruz have found that sea otters play an active role in combating climate change, reports Discovery News. And it's all thanks to their love of sea urchin, a natural predator of the carbon-absorbing coastal seaweed, kelp. In the absence of otters, urchins dine like kings, but in their presence, the spiny creatures hide and feed mostly on leftover plant matter. 

This, in-turn, allows the kelp forests to flourish. The study found that when otters were present, kelp forests absorbed 12 times more carbon dioxide than they otherwise would have if subjected to urchin predation. So keep on eating, our furry little friends. The planet needs all the help it can get. 

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Annual Average Atlantic Hurricanes by Decade Hurricane Matthew threatens the Southeast through this weekend.

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