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Water-Related News

Symposium Looks to Alert Policy Makers to Impacts from Gulf Oil Disaster

The old rock tune goes something like "you don't know what you've got until it's gone." That's also a common problem in nature, especially after a traumatic blow to an ecosystem like the Gulf oil disaster.

At Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Fla., some 40 scientists from across the U.S. participated in a symposium and break-out work groups on Nov. 8-9 to examine impacts to food webs from the BP oil spill. The two-day event is co-sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, Mote and the University of South Florida.

Called trophic cascades, these relationships alter natural balances between predators and prey, feeders and food sources, even entire ecosystems. In simplest terms, you can think of the lion-gazelle-grassland analogy. Reduce the lion population and you end up with a lot of gazelles, which in tern reduce the grasslands. Alter any one of the three and the other two are affected. ...