Presented by Dr. Brent Hughes, Duke University / University of California, Santa Cruz on May 3
Abstract: One of the most pressing issues in ecology is determining the drivers of ecosystem functioning and stability. Researchers and managers of ecosystems and populations of concern are often faced with determining the relative effects of top down forces, such as top predators and lower level consumers, and bottom up forces, such as nutrient loading and climate, on the stability of ecosystems. Here I show that the recovery of top predators, sea otters, through the restoration of food webs can lead to dramatic changes to coastal ecosystems, which often benefit their functioning and stability. I also demonstrate that anthropogenic nutrient loading and subsequent hypoxia in estuaries can propagate to adjacent ocean ecosystems with consequences to important ecosystem services, namely fishery production, which in turn is mediated by climatic forcing. These results demonstrate that both top predator recovery and climate can regulate ecosystem functioning and stability in the face of extreme anthropogenic stress.
To view this past webinar, see its listing under Resources > CSEB Webinar Archives