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Science. 2005 Jun 10;308(5728):1621-3.

Trophic cascades in a formerly cod-dominated ecosystem.

Author information

  • 1Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Ocean Sciences Division, Post Office Box 1006, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, B2Y 4A2, Canada. frankk@mar.dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Abstract

Removal of top predators from ecosystems can result in cascading effects through the trophic levels below, completely restructuring the food web. Cascades have been observed in small-scale or simple food webs, but not in large, complex, open-ocean ecosystems. Using data spanning many decades from a once cod-dominated northwest Atlantic ecosystem, we demonstrate a trophic cascade in a large marine ecosystem. Several cod stocks in other geographic areas have also collapsed without recovery, suggesting the existence of trophic cascades in these systems.

PMID:
15947186
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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