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The Biology and Ecology of Giant Kelp Forests$
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David R. Schiel and Michael S. Foster

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520278868

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520278868.001.0001

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Anthropogenic Effects on Kelp Forests

Anthropogenic Effects on Kelp Forests

(p.217) 10 Anthropogenic Effects on Kelp Forests
The Biology and Ecology of Giant Kelp Forests

David R. Schiel

Michael S. Foster

University of California Press

This chapter examines the predation and trophic cascades in kelp communities, focusing on the relationships between sea urchins and their predators. It is often assumed that the natural state of kelp forests is tight trophic control, such that when top predators are reduced in abundances by humans, there is a “relaxation in top-down control” on sea urchins and a subsequent decline in macroalgal abundance, often referred to as a trophic cascade. There are two types of trophic cascade: species-level and community-level. In a species-level cascade, changes in predator numbers affect one or a few plant species in a compartment of the food web. Community-level cascades may apply to any multilevel linear food web interaction and alter the distribution of plant biomass through an entire system.

Keywords:   predation, trophic cascade, kelp communities, sea urchins, kelp forests, species level cascade, community-level cascade

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