Prey for the oceans: How marine predators influence reef ecology

(Photo credit: Bryan Scott via Flickr)
(Photo credit: Bryan Scott via Flickr)

Predators often get a bad rap — the fearsome teeth of the great white shark terrified people long before the 1975 movie Jaws immortalised our panic. But our view of the natural environments around us has changed drastically over recent years, especially as we’ve seen the impacts of our own activities on almost every ecosystem we encounter. Even our view predators is softening, as we recognise their important place in the ecosystems they are a part of.

But what exactly happens to an ecosystem when its predators are removed? Does fishing out the marine predators irreversibly change our ocean communities? And how effective are marine management practices at protecting the natural balance between predator and prey?

For the latest episode of Up Close I spoke to marine biologist Robert Warner about his work on marine predators. Bob is Research Professor of Marine Biology in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Listen to the episode or read a transcript here.



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