MEPS - Vol. 336 - Feature article

Analysis of the food web structure helps to understand how eutrophication and overfishing cause blooms of harmful species in coastal waters. Illustration: S├índor Snepp; back- ground from Google Earth™

Vasas V, Lancelot C, Rousseau V, Jordán F

 

Eutrophication and overfishing in temperate nearshore pelagic food webs: a network perspective

 

Eutrophication and overfishing are threatening marine coastal communities worldwide. Visible consequences are harmful algal blooms (HAB) and jellyfish outbreaks. However, the relationship between anthropogenic pressures and ecosystem shifts is not yet fully understood. Vasas et al. investigated the consequences of human activities by analyzing the nearshore pelagic food web structure. Results indicate that HAB-forming species stimulate the microbial network, but inhibit higher trophic levels, while jellyfish blooms lead to a massive accumulation of large phytoplankton. Human-induced nutrient enrichment favours undesirable species because of their specific position in the food web. The results help us to understand the mechanisms by which eutrophication and overfishing can generate ecosystem shifts.

 

Inter-Research Science Center is pleased to make this Feature Article openly available for viewing by our readers.

 

Abstract   Back to contents page   Link to full PDF