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Trophic cascades in a formerly cod-dominated ecosystem
Research Area: Background Year: 2005
Type of Publication: Article Keywords: trophic cascade; cod
  • Frank, K.T.
  • B. Petrie
  • J.S. Choi
  • W.C. Leggett
Journal: Science Volume: 308
Pages: 1621-1623
Month: June
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.