Date of this Version
Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, 2016
As the human population continues to grow, it has become obvious that we are changing Earth’s ecosystems. These anthropogenic effects can create top-down trophic cascades throughout much of the Earth’s ecosystems – including the oceans. The oceans and the species that reside there are of extreme importance to the human population because they provide food and are sources of income for much of the world. Due to this importance, there has been a growing interest in researching the anthropogenic effects on the oceans and their species. The purpose of this review is to examine the current understanding of some major species interactions in oceans and how declines in populations may affect the interaction dynamics between species now and in the future. Specifically, this review will examine how overfishing and climate change are generating top-down trophic cascades within the ecosystem. Finally, it will examine if there is anything that can be done to help stabilize cascades, such as implementing marine protected areas, allowing for the balancing of the ocean’s ecosystems.