Report

Trophic Cascades in a Formerly Cod-Dominated Ecosystem

Science  10 Jun 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5728, pp. 1621-1623
DOI: 10.1126/science.1113075

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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.

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