Veterinarian Melissa Miller, a wildlife pathologist at the Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center, has been conducting necropsies on dead sea otters for 15 years and has found evidence that the animals are suffering from the effects of land-based toxins. In 2007, Dr. Miller found that 31 sea otters had died over the years from exposure to microsystin, a toxin produced by freshwater algae, and she suspects other such toxins in runoff are also wreaking havoc. Wetlands used to filter such compounds, but many have been destroyed.

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