Killer whale predation on sea otters linking oceanic and nearshore ecosystems

@article{Estes1998KillerWP,
  title={Killer whale predation on sea otters linking oceanic and nearshore ecosystems},
  author={Estes and Tinker and Williams and Doak},
  journal={Science},
  year={1998},
  volume={282 5388},
  pages={
          473-6
        }
}
  • EstesTinker Doak
  • Published 16 October 1998
  • Environmental Science
  • Science
After nearly a century of recovery from overhunting, sea otter populations are in abrupt decline over large areas of western Alaska. Increased killer whale predation is the likely cause of these declines. Elevated sea urchin density and the consequent deforestation of kelp beds in the nearshore community demonstrate that the otter's keystone role has been reduced or eliminated. This chain of interactions was probably initiated by anthropogenic changes in the offshore oceanic ecosystem. 

The rise of an apex predator following deglaciation

Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) are an apex predator of the nearshore marine community and nearly went extinct at the turn of the 20th century. Reintroductions and legal protection allowed sea otters to

Effects of Apex Consumers Cascade Dynamically across Trophic Levels

Simple ecosystems in the northern Pacific Ocean are particularly suitable to test the hypothesis. In 1970’s, communities at islands lacking sea otters were characterized by high density of sea

Causes and consequences of marine mammal population declines in southwest Alaska: a food-web perspective

Populations of sea otters, seals and sea lions have collapsed across much of southwest Alaska over the past several decades. The sea otter decline set off a trophic cascade in which the coastal

Effects Of Sea Otter Colonization On Soft-Sediment Intertidal Prey Assemblages In Glacier Bay, Alaska

The occurrence of top-down structuring in soft-sediment systems over a multi-decadal time scale was established and was consistent with findings in other habitats, where reduced densities and sizes of prey were documented.

Sequential megafaunal collapse in the North Pacific Ocean: An ongoing legacy of industrial whaling?

  • A. SpringerJ. Estes B. Pfister
  • Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 2003
It is proposed that decimation of the great whales by post-World War II industrial whaling caused the great whale' foremost natural predators, killer whales, to begin feeding more intensively on the smaller marine mammals, thus “fishing-down” this element of the marine food web.

Cascading Effects of the Loss of Apex Predatory Sharks from a Coastal Ocean

Impacts of chronic overfishing are evident in population depletions worldwide, yet indirect ecosystem effects induced by predator removal from oceanic food webs remain unpredictable. As abundances of

Human Impacts on Seals, Sea Lions, and Sea Otters

Review of  Human Impacts on Seals, Sea Lions, and Sea Otters: Integrating Archaeology and Ecology of the Northeast Pacific .  Todd J. Braje and Torben C. Rick, editors. 2011. Univer sity of

Depletion of coastal predatory fish sub-stocks coincided with the largest sea urchin grazing event observed in the NE Atlantic

It is hypothesized that coastal predatory fish were important in regulating sea urchins, and that a local population dynamics perspective is necessary in management of coastal ecosystems.

Complex trophic interactions in kelp forest ecosystems

It is hypothesized that killer whales sequentially “fished down” pinniped and sea-otter populations after their earlier prey, the great whales, were decimated by commercial whaling.
...

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