Not Enough Bird Feed

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Science  23 Dec 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6063, pp. 1602
DOI: 10.1126/science.334.6063.1602-h
CREDIT: RON LE VALLEY

Harvest of forage fish is rapidly increasing. Because these species are prey for many others, reduction in their population sizes is likely to have cascading effects throughout marine ecosystems. Cury et al. (p. 1703) used decades-long data sets across multiple marine systems to quantify the effects of forage fish population size on reproductive success in seabirds, which represent a large group of marine predators. When forage fish populations had fallen below a third of their maximum biomass, reproductive output across multiple bird species was lower and more variable.

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