ORONO, Maine -- Overfishing of key marine animals such as cod, oysters,
sea turtles and other species is the primary cause leading to a variety of
problems that have appeared recently in coastal waters around the world,
according to an article published this week in the journal Science. In
locations ranging from the Chesapeake Bay to the Great Barrier Reef in
Australia, increases in disease, invasions of non-native species and
declining water quality can be traced back to a loss of species that exert
a controlling influence over marine ecosystems, the authors conclude after
a review of historical data that stretches back thousands of years.
In the Gulf of Maine, evidence for the loss of large predatory fish is
clear, says co-author Robert Steneck of the University of Maine Darling
Marine Center in Walpole. While a cause and effect relationship between
the loss of those species and disease, water quality problems or the
spread of non-native species has not been demonstrated for the Gulf, it
cant be ruled out. Taking a longer look at ecosystems gives us
perspective on how much things have changed, says Steneck.
The big news here is that we havent considered that fishing impacts may
have begun thousands of years ago and that some of the ecosystem level
changes may be indirect, he adds.
The article, Historical Overfishing and the Recent Collapse of Coastal
Ecosystems, is co-authored by scientists from 14 universities and
scientific organizations around the world, including Steneck and Bruce J.
Bourque, a lecturer in anthropology at Bates College in Lewiston. Jeremy
B. C. Jackson of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla,
California, is the primary author. Science is published weekly by the
American Association for the Advancement of Science.
In Maine, we have evidence from Indian middens dating back 5,000 years
that our coastal zone was dominated by large predatory fiPage: 1 2 3 4 Related biology news :1
Contact: Nick Houtman
University of Maine
. Overfishing may diminish genetic diversity even when millions of fish remain2
. Aquaculture: Not An Easy Answer To Overfishing3
. OutFoxed! New research may redefine late-stage cardiac development4
. Anti-cancer compound in vegetables found to block late-stage breast-cancer cell growth5
. The telomere crisis: A crucial stage in breast cancer6
. Shortened chromosomes linked to early stages of cancer development7
. Failure of DNA repair mechanism precedes final stage of deadly leukemia, new Penn study shows8
. New test detects cirrhosis of the liver in an early stage9
. Bioprocesses upstage traditional chemical processes10
. New findings are a window into the late stages of Lou Gehrigs disease11
. Stem cells illuminate early stages of human development