For most of the past 4,500 years, cod was king in the Gulf of Maines coastal waters. Today, cod have given way to the Jonah crab with potential long-term consequences for coastal fisheries, according to a University of Maine research report published in the journal Ecosystems.
With crabs and lobsters at the top of the proverbial heap, the Gulf may have entered a new stable phase marked by the presence of expansive kelp beds and the near absence of sea urchins. These findings could signal the likelihood of significant biological changes in other heavily fished parts of the worlds oceans as well.
The authors of the report are Robert S. Steneck, professor of marine sciences at UMaines Darling Marine Center, and former UMaine graduate students John Vavrinec and Amanda Leland. They received support for their research from the Pew Foundation for Marine Conservation, Maine Sea Grant, the Maine Department of Marine Resources and the National Undersea Research Program.
Robert Steneck | EurekAlert!
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