Sea changes: structure and functioning of emerging marine communities
The industrial-scale fishing that expanded during the 20th century has strongly reduced the abundance of large animals throughout the world's oceans, reduced the food chain length of many pelagic and benthic communities, altered fish community size-structure, and selected for evolutionary shifts toward maturation at smaller sizes in many exploited fish assemblages. This chapter reviews the consequences of keystone predation by humans on marine communities. Data from open, unmanipulated marine ecosystems support insights from theory and experiments that trophic cascades can occur in a range of pelagic and benthic systems, despite their complexity and openness. Nevertheless, there is some evidence that functional diversity within lower trophic levels tends to reduce their vulnerability to top-down control.
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