Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Active efforts required to save 'ordinary species' that form basis of marine ecosystems

Date:
April 18, 2011
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
Active efforts are required to preserve biodiversity in the seas, most agree. But in our enthusiasm to save uncommon species, we sometimes miss the common species that form the basis of marine ecosystems.

Cod fish.
Credit: Bo Johannesson

Active efforts are required to preserve biodiversity in the seas -- that far most people are in agreement. But in our enthusiasm to save uncommon species, we sometimes miss the common species that form the basis of marine ecosystems. 'Change strategy' is the challenge to the authorities from researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

An inconceivably large proportion of the animals that live in the seas are so uncommon that it is difficult to find more than a few specimens. Committing most resources to saving individual species is not just an expensive business -- it would also risk destroying the foundation for ecosystems, the research of Professor Kerstin Johannesson shows.

Her research team is able to demonstrate that it is the common species that are of really great significance for ecosystems, by establishing habitats for other species. It is therefore in all probability the most common species that determine the future of all species. If the common species disappear, it will have great consequences.

An alarming example of what can happen is that the cod populations in the fjords of the Bohuslän coast have almost without exception disappeared. These fjords have consequently lost one of their most important species. It can have far-reaching consequences for several other species when the environments of the shallow bays change.

"Without the big predatory fish, the sea-grass meadows become clogged, with the result that the shallow bays no longer act as larders and nurseries for inshore fish. While life slowly dies out, the blame is put on eutrophication."

Kerstin Johannesson's research is concerned with how different populations within one species may be so genetically different that they actually do not have very much to do with each other, and that in particular they are not interchangeable. If a local population disappears, it will not automatically be replaced by individuals from another population migrating in. In the worst case, even individuals of the other population are unable to cope in the environment of the extinct population.

"That's how it is with the cod populations in Bohuslän. Despite tough restrictions on catches and despite North Sea cod visiting the Bohuslän fjords every year, we are not getting the cod populations back. A similar example is the cod off the coast of Newfoundland in Canada, which have not returned despite a complete halt to fishing for nearly 20 years."

Focusing on the species in order to preserve species diversity in the seas is therefore an incorrect approach that may instead lead to greater losses. Despite this, there is a lack of legislation and recommendations today on how genetic variation within species should to be managed.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Gothenburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Active efforts required to save 'ordinary species' that form basis of marine ecosystems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110418152330.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2011, April 18). Active efforts required to save 'ordinary species' that form basis of marine ecosystems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110418152330.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Active efforts required to save 'ordinary species' that form basis of marine ecosystems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110418152330.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) — Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) — The drop in price of soy on the international market is a cause for concern in Argentina, as soybean exports are a major source of income for Latin America's third largest economy. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) — A mama bear and her two cubs climb trees, wrestle and take naps in the backyard of a Monrovia, California home. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins