Seal Friend: A testament to Conservation’s Triumph

Harbor seals once had all but disappeared from Monterey Bay. Fur trappers had eliminated sea otters, urchin populations exploded, and the kelp forests were decimated. But when protection came and a tiny pocket of otters, once thought extinct, was discovered and began to expand and eat the urchins, the kelp forest came back. Now the Harbor  Seal population has swelled and nowhere is it stronger than at Hopkins Marine Station where the seals breed and rest. This curious yearling follows me almost every day during my research and when I decided to bring my camera with all its funny bright lights he couldn’t help but come give it a nuzzle. See more at

Read more about the remarkable story of environmental destruction followed by the road to recovery paved by characters like John Steinbeck, Ed Rickett’s and Julia Platt in my undergraduate advisor Stephen R. Palumbi’s book:

The Death and Life of Monterey Bay