buz23

Ecological effect of top predator removal

Rate this topic

35 posts in this topic

I saw a program on PBS the other night explaining how the removal of predators can really screw up an ecosystem.  Examples that I remember include sea otters keeping the urchins in check which allows the kelp forest to flourish, and bass keeping minnows in check in a small stream.  Too many minnows and they strip the stream of all green material.  Another example was wolves keeping deer in check (in the absence of deer hunters).  A deer population run wild can devastate the forest undergrowth.   (There were a couple other examples but it was near my bedtime and I fell asleep).

 

Got me to wondering what effect we might see from the mismanagement which has allowed both cod and bass populations to plummet.  Could this be a reason why the bunker are flourishing to the point of die offs (not so much here in New England), the explosion of dogfish, sea robins, maybe even the abundance of slipper shells in the past few years?   I know there are other upper echelon predators which are flourishing (seals, whales, white sharks).  Maybe the seals have replaced the bass in the predator chain.

 

What are your thoughts??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 mins ago, buz23 said:

 

What are your thoughts??


Those are all perfect examples of Newton’s Third Law as applied to the natural world:  

 

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, buz23 said:

A deer population run wild can devastate the forest undergrowth.

 

...which in turn leads to reduced forage and browse and decreased population of deer in the future. 

 

Ecosystems are dynamic.  

 

Some of those  negative feedback mechanisms involved in maintaining that "dynamic equilibrium" have more immediate effects than others.  

 

Its ALL interconnected, man!

 

(cool topic, thanks for posting!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, buz23 said:

the explosion of dogfish, sea robins,

 

I wouldnt mind more sea robins in some of our usual shore spots.  Taste great.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 mins ago, 55555s said:

 

I wouldnt mind more sea robins in some of our usual shore spots.  Taste great.  

You aren't looking for them in the right place lol....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 mins ago, foxfai said:

You aren't looking for them in the right place lol....

 

I know, I mean I wouldnt mind them in the beaches where I frequent.  They simply arent there.  At all.  Its hysterical, other spots, obviously tons.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We need to remove a few billion apex predators (humans) to straighten out the natural world. Maybe a new plague like COVID on steroids.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have never seen as many small scup, sea bass and sea robins as there are now. It has to be from the lack of stripers and blues around to eat them. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My thoughts are;

first, take your TV nature lessons with a grain of salt.

Not that they are wrong necessarily, but,

they over simplify to fit 60 minutes format.

 

They often are created with an agenda. They pick examples that support their views.

 

They intentionally sensationalise, choosing the most dramatic extreme examples and presesenting them as the norm.

 

What I would add is, "balance" of nature is a misnomer. I see it used here in this forum all the time. 

There is very little stasis in nature long term. Things always change. Climate changes, weather changes, prey availability changes, diseases happen, etc.

 

There was never a time when the sharks seals and the striper and the herring and the sea Robin were in "balance". It's a never ending arms race where population ebbs and flows and no two seasons are ever the same.

 

Of course humans gawk things up in countless ways. From overharvest to pollution to diseases to killing predators etc etc.

We don't even know all the subtle little ways our actions effect the environment. 

It's that whole butterfly wing thing..

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, mikez2 said:

My thoughts are;

first, take your TV nature lessons with a grain of salt.

Not that they are wrong necessarily, but,

they over simplify to fit 60 minutes format.

 

They often are created with an agenda. They pick examples that support their views.

 

They intentionally sensationalise, choosing the most dramatic extreme examples and presesenting them as the norm.

 

What I would add is, "balance" of nature is a misnomer. I see it used here in this forum all the time. 

There is very little stasis in nature long term. Things always change. Climate changes, weather changes, prey availability changes, diseases happen, etc.

 

There was never a time when the sharks seals and the striper and the herring and the sea Robin were in "balance". It's a never ending arms race where population ebbs and flows and no two seasons are ever the same.

 

Of course humans gawk things up in countless ways. From overharvest to pollution to diseases to killing predators etc etc.

We don't even know all the subtle little ways our actions effect the environment. 

It's that whole butterfly wing thing..

 

Totally agree, with one small exception. Humans have the ability to destroy a species in no time, whether that be by gun, nets, traps, etc. The mechanical advantage that we have is like no other in nature. We can absolutely have severe impacts and that needs to be taken seriously.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, oc1 said:

Both seals and white sharks are keystone species.

We need to cull the seals...big time.  They should let people shoot them between the hours of midnight and 4am on the cape and the islands.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, z-man said:

I have never seen as many small scup, sea bass and sea robins as there are now. It has to be from the lack of stripers and blues around to eat them. 

Just FYI, scup and sea bass have been at over 200% of Bmsy for about 8 years now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, mikez2 said:

My thoughts are;

first, take your TV nature lessons with a grain of salt.

Not that they are wrong necessarily, but,

they over simplify to fit 60 minutes format.

 

They often are created with an agenda. They pick examples that support their views.

 

They intentionally sensationalise, choosing the most dramatic extreme examples and presesenting them as the norm.

 

What I would add is, "balance" of nature is a misnomer. I see it used here in this forum all the time. 

There is very little stasis in nature long term. Things always change. Climate changes, weather changes, prey availability changes, diseases happen, etc.

 

There was never a time when the sharks seals and the striper and the herring and the sea Robin were in "balance". It's a never ending arms race where population ebbs and flows and no two seasons are ever the same.

 

Of course humans gawk things up in countless ways. From overharvest to pollution to diseases to killing predators etc etc.

We don't even know all the subtle little ways our actions effect the environment. 

It's that whole butterfly wing thing..

 

Well said! The obvious recent example was “Seapiracy.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Experienced hunters have been concerned about this for years. Many contend that trophy hunting whitetails dramatically impacts the gene pool. Big bucks ( and does) don't get old by being dumb. Allowing those deer to pass on their superior genes strengthens the herd. By culling out the biggest and the best, you remove animals with superior intelligence and genes, thus allowing younger animals to breed, possibly passing along dubious genetics.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to register here in order to participate.

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.