Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Overfishing puts Southern California kelp forest ecosystems at risk, report scientists

29.05.2006


Kelp forest ecosystems that span the West Coast –– from Alaska to Mexico’s Baja Peninsula –– are at greater risk from overfishing than from the effects of run-off from fertilizers or sewage on the shore, say scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The findings have important implications for the design of California’s Marine Protected Areas.


A California kelp forest creates a cathedral effect as the sun shines through the blades of the kelp. Credit: NOAA



In an article published in the May 26 issue of Science, scientists describe the first study to compare the top-down versus bottom-up human influences on the food chain of the kelp forest ecosystems.

The study was conducted by scientists at UCSB’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, known as NCEAS, which is funded by the National Science Foundation.


"This study shows that California is on the right track by limiting fishing in certain areas in an effort to comply with the Marine Life Protection Act," said first author Ben Halpern, project director at NCEAS.

Kelp are giant algae that reach up to 120 feet in height and support diverse ecosytems. They provide beautiful settings for scuba diving and are rich areas for commercial and recreational fishing.

The research team took data from four years of marine life surveys by the National Park Service. The park service regularly checks 16 different kelp forest sites around the Channel Islands off the coast of Central California. They maintain data on 46 different species.

Next, the scientists matched the park service data to data provided by SeaWiFs, a satellite monitoring project that photographs and analyzes ocean color for information about ocean life. This information can then be used to estimate nutrient levels in the ocean.

Organic coastal run-off –– from fertilizers and sewage overflow –– increases the amount of organic material in the near shore ocean. According to the study, differences in the amount of organic material do not have much effect on the delicate food chain of the kelp forest ecosystem. However removal of the fish at the top of the food chain has a profound effect.

When the predator species, such as rockfish, at the top of the food chain are removed, then the species that they normally eat, such as snails and barnacles, begin to increase in number. Many of these are herbivores that eat kelp. When their numbers increase, they decrease the amount of kelp, in turn changing how kelp forests look and the type of species that are associated with the kelp forest.

"Kelp forests are so sensitive," said Halpern. "If you remove some of the predators, then you can have an effect on the entire kelp forest ecosystem."

He explained that until now studies of kelp forests looked at either overfishing or increased nutrients. This is the first study to put both variables together to see which is more important.

Gail Gallessich | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ia.ucsb.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht How does the loss of species alter ecosystems?
18.05.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Excess diesel emissions bring global health & environmental impacts
16.05.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>