Friday, June 10, 2005

Ocean altered by disappearance of cod

Marine ecosystem altered by disappearance of cod in the north Atlantic ocean

"An entire marine ecosystem is being restructured because of the collapse of East Coast fish stocks more than a decade ago and could make their recovery nearly impossible, according to a unique study to be published Friday.

Researchers who looked at data over a 40-year period found that the food chain in the North Atlantic has been significantly altered with the disappearance of large species, like cod, a finding never seen before.

Ken Frank, a scientist who co-authored the report in Science magazine, said the findings provided an unsettling picture of the marine ecology on the eastern Scotian Shelf and the future of once robust stocks that might never recover. . . ."

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The reporter uses the old term "food chain" throughout this piece, but it is more accurate to use the term "food web". See image below for why the network between creatures in an ecosystem is nonlinear, complex, and somewhat unpredictable as to the overall cascade of effects due to one species being taken out of the picture by over-fishing.


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