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Marine Populations

By monitoring the populations of key marine animals, Seattle Aquarium researchers can gain important information about the health of entire marine ecosystems. Often, this work involves an age-old task: counting. But as 21st-century marine scientists, we’re making use of new tools, strategies and technologies to do our work. We’re also sharing it widely.

Sea otters

Sea otter census: counting on recovery

Since 2001, Aquarium researchers have participated in an annual sea otter survey documenting the increasing trend of sea otters off our Washington coast. The 2022 official count was close to 3,000 animals.

Secrets of the sea otter diet

Since 2010, Seattle Aquarium biologists have been hiking the outer coast of Washington documenting what the sea otters eat. Why? A growing menu can indicate the productivity of the outer coast—or that it’s time to move. When otter diets start to diversify (meaning they eat a variety of foods), the otter population has reached local carrying capacity and needs to expand into new territory.
An adult sea otter at the Seattle Aquarium looking upwards with its front paws resting on its front.

Giving Tuesday

Make a tax-deductible donation to the non-profit Seattle Aquarium

Your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000 thanks to a very generous anonymous donor!

Sea otter at the Seattle Aquarium laying on its back, raising its head and front paws.

Cyber weekend

Get 15% OFF all memberships!