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Reducing numbers of 1 carnivore species indirectly leads to extinction of others
Date:2/28/2013

d species went extinct and so the indirect extinctions of the wasps were not the result of extinction of their prey. Rather, it is likely that the wasps that went extinct had difficulty searching for suitable prey among large numbers of unsuitable ones.

Lead researcher Dr Frank van Veen of the University of Exeter's Centre for Ecology and Conservation said: "We have shown that the complex ripple effect of a change in population size across food webs is more sensitive than previously thought and that a reduction in the numbers of one carnivore can lead to the extinction of another carnivore species. We also found evidence that the initial indirect extinction can itself trigger further ones, potentially leading to a cascade of extinctions, like dominoes toppling over."

"The insect system is handy for experimentation but the same principles apply to any ecosystem, from mammals in the Serengeti to the fish in our seas. It clearly shows that we should have an ecosystem-based approach to conservation and to the management of fish stocks and other natural resources."

The research team has recently been awarded a 470K grant by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to extend this research at a larger scale.


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Contact: Jo Bowler
j.bowler@exeter.ac.uk
44-013-927-22062
University of Exeter
Source:Eurekalert

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