The hypothesis suggests, for example, that marine ecosystem managers who want to help tropical fish should focus on sustaining foundational species in the ecosystem, such as corals. With the ecosystem's foundation shored up the natural tendency among species toward greater positive interactions under stress should allow the fish to weather stress better.
"We're no longer in the casual, earlier stages of ecology," Bertness said. "In our lifetimes we're watching Caribbean coral reefs die, kelp forests die, and salt marshes and sea grass beds being decimated. We need to figure this stuff out quickly. These are no longer intellectual arguments without consequence."
In other words, with nature under stress, Bertness hopes that He's efforts to pull together the available data will lead ecologists to pull together so that they can apply the guidance the hypothesis provides.
|Contact: David Orenstein|