- Ecologist Stephen Carpenter and a group of scientists dropped 12 large mouth bass into the lake and left behind sensors that could measure water clarity every 5 minutes, 24 hours a day
- Many of the predators there had been eaten by the large mouth bass and the survivors had hid in the shallows.
- With the water fleas and other tiny organisms not being eaten, they were able to grow.
- These type of organisms fed on algae so that led to the lake water becoming more clear
- In recent decades, food webs across the world have also been flipping, often unexpectedly on a far greater scale.
- An early-warning system would tell us when to alter human activities that are pushing an ecosystem toward a breakdown or would even allow us to pull ecosystems back from the brink.
- After decades of thinking that food webs are structured from the bottom up, researchers are finding that top predators often control the chain -directly & indirectly
- Ecologists have turned food webs into mathematical models
- Most food webs consist of many weak links rather than few strong ones
- Weak links may thus keep species from driving one another to extinction
- The extraction of one animal leads to many changes in the environment
- Climate change is also altering food webs in some cases by shifting the ranges of predators and their prey
- Carpenter and his colleagues have been developing an early warning system that can reveal when ecological switches are about to happen and offer some guidance about how to pull an ecosystem back from the tipping point
- The goal is to know when we are pushing an ecosystem to the brink, so we can stop pushing
- The Early-Warning system does provide the opportunity to anticipate some surprises before they happen
Ecologist Stephen Carpenter and a group of scientists had ran an experiment on the Peters lake where they brought an invasive species known as the Large Mouth Bass. After monitoring the new species in the lake, this caused them to feed on the predators who were controlling the lake and that left a chain reaction onto the other organisms living in the water. With the amount of predators at a much lower population, this left organisms such as Water Fleas and etc. the ability to grow and feed on the algae. By feeding on the algae, this allowed the water to overall be more cleaner and clearer which is an upside making the experiment a success for ecologists. This is an example of a food web as each part of the web leaves an effect onto the next and without one of the variables, it will completely change the whole web. In recent years, many of the food webs have begun to change completely which may hurt a certain part of the food web's environment. Ecologists need to create an early-warning system that allow them to alter human activities that may be pushing an ecosystem to the brink. This type of information is very important to be aware of as a simple change can make all the difference and that is not what anyone wants at the moment. Even variables such as climate change have played a big part in the change so researchers need to be aware of stuff like this as well. The goal at the moment is to know when we are pushing an ecosystem to the brink.
In my opinion, having an early-warning system would be very useful as keeping track of how a food web in an area is functioning is valuable. Humans must see the error in their ways and be aware of everything that they are doing as it may end up hurting the ecosystem. I found it very interesting and eye-opening as ecologists view the food web as a type of mathematical model since that perspective allows them to think out their decisions more clearly. It is amazing how one specific change can lead to so much of a difference and causes the environment to adjust to the new situation. For example how the extraction of the wolf will lead to a growth in elk population which will decrease the amount of trees in the area. Each variable plays an important role and having us interfere will only make it worse. This is why the importance of an early-warning system is necessary as it will allow us to know things before they even happen.