Tuesday, August 7, 2007 - 8:00 AM

OOS 7-1: Trophic structure: Introduction and historical overview

Donald R. Strong, University of California - Davis

Foodwebs And Humans:

While integration of human influence is among the greatest recent scientific changes to ecological thought and theory, treatment of the roles and implications of human agency in trophic structure are scattered among the literature of fisheries, Holocene studies, anthropology, and even economic history.  In this brief attempt at a précis to a synthesis, I will argue that humans have long had powerful effects on foodwebs. In both land to the sea, human influence has by and large caused less diverse, shorter food chains and perhaps a tendency for weaker top down forces in foodwebs.  However, the scale and magnitude of human effects, both direct and indirect, upon both terrestrial and marine foodwebs has recently accelerated greatly in scale and magnitude.  In coming decades, we should see the great diminution of opportunities to study and understand function of the rich trophic nature that was inherited by humans but 10,000 years ago at the beginning of the Holocene.