Mangroves, trees that form forests in the transition between land and sea, provide a habitat for a great diversity of plants and animals worldwide. These coastal ecosystems are invaluable to humans, supplying a number of services essential for our survival. We still do not know how much these ecosystems are worth from an economic perspective – but they are essential from an ecological perspective. Scripps Oceanography’s Octavio Aburto examines mangrove ecosystems and explains why it is vital to put enormous efforts into understanding their value.
First things first, don’t call them starfish – they’re sea stars. It makes sense, really; there’s not much that’s “fishy” about these beautiful creatures.
Extremely sensitive to shifts in temperature, the ochre sea star is considered a “keystone species” for monitoring the effect of changing air and ocean temperatures on California’s marine life.
In the latest edition of UCTV Prime Cuts, Eric Sanford of the UC Davis Bodega Bay Marine Lab puts these beautiful creatures to the test, using their appetite for mussels as the yardstick.