Simplified food web with top/fishery (T, F; orange), intermediate (I; red, blue = invertebrates, fishes) and basal (B; green) nodes of the subtidal rocky shores of central Chile. Characteristic species shown include sea urchins, sea stars, kelp and reef fishes. Image: Alejandro Pérez-Matus

Pérez-Matus A, Ospina-Alvarez A, Camus PA, Carrasco SA, Fernandez M, Gelcich S, Godoy N, Ojeda FP, Pardo LM, Rozbaczylo N, Subida MD, Thiel M, Wieters EA, Navarrete SA


Temperate rocky subtidal reef community reveals human impacts across the entire food web

The subtidal rocky shores of central Chile represent one of the most productive, yet heavily exploited, marine ecosystems on earth. Pérez-Matus and colleagues compiled and analyzed one of the most comprehensive marine food webs of coastal habitats, considering 147 taxa and explicitly considering the influence of commercial and recreational exploitation on 34 species. The analysis revealed that nearly 90% of the non-harvested nodes share consumers with harvested ones, suggesting that coastal fisheries heavily modulate the structural and topological properties of the entire subtidal community. The results highlight the need for multispecies management.


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