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Adorbz Is the New Green: Otters to Save World With Their Bare Cuteness

I can't believe it! I'm going to save the world!

Just by munching on one of their favorite foods, sea otters may combat climate change. New research out of University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) suggests that a thriving population of sea otters may keep sea urchin populations in check. Sea urchins devour sea kelp, which can absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide.

The theory is outlined in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment by lead authors  Chris Wilmers and James Estes, who are both UCSC professors. The researchers combined 40 years of data on otters and kelp bloom from Vancouver Island to the western edge of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. They found that otters “undoubtedly have a strong influence” on the cycle of CO2 storage, according to a UCSC press release.

“Right now, all the climate change models and proposed methods of sequestering carbon ignore animals,” Dr. Wilmers said. “But animals the world over, working in different ways to influence the carbon cycle, might actually have a large impact.

“If ecologists can get a better handle on what these impacts are, there might be opportunities for win-win conservation scenarios, whereby animal species are protected or enhanced, and carbon gets sequestered,” he said.

Check out a dozen photos of adorable otters who are saving the world right now, below!

nggallery id=’127957′

  • ERMAHGERD! 1 of 12
    ERMAHGERD!
    GLERBEL WERMING!

    (Photo Credit: Flickr/snowlepard)
  • Mmmm. 2 of 12
    Mmmm.
    You taste like sea urchin.

    (Photo Credit: Smilepost)
  • YOU GET A SEA URCHIN! AND YOU GET A SEA URCHIN! 3 of 12
    YOU GET A SEA URCHIN! AND YOU GET A SEA URCHIN!
    EVERYBODY GETS A SEA URCHIN!

    (Photo Credit: f-yeah sea otters)
  • Oh, hai there. 4 of 12
    Oh, hai there.
    Iz in ur oceans, savin ur planet.

    (Photo Credit: varbak.com)
  • ‘No way.’ ‘Way.’ 5 of 12
    'No way.'  'Way.'
    Four sea urchins discuss their plans to save the world.

    (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Mike Baird)
  • I will totally combat climate change. 6 of 12
    I will totally combat climate change.
    Right after this nap.

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto)
  • Hmmm… 7 of 12
    Hmmm...
    Should I have just one more sea urchin?

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto)
  • That’s hilarious! 8 of 12
    That's hilarious!
    This joke another otter told me, I mean. The climate change situation, however, is not funny at all.

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto)
  • I can haz seconds? 9 of 12
    I can haz seconds?
    Dude. Hook me up with some more urchins. Yeah, just fill up my plate here.

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto)
  • Stop it, you’re embarrassing me! 10 of 12
    Stop it, you're embarrassing me!
    Really. You can stop thanking me for eating the sea urchins now.

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto)
  • Sea urchin…it’s what’s for dinner. 11 of 12
    Sea urchin...it's what's for dinner.
    In related news: sea urchins...they're not just for breakfast any more.

    (Photo Credit: NOAA)
  • Wonder Twin powers…activate! 12 of 12
    Wonder Twin powers...activate!
    Form of...a adorable!

    (Photo Credit: Flickr/mindluge)

Read more from Joslyn at Strollerderby and at her blog, stark. raving. mad. mommy. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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