Stuck in the middle with oysters, crabs

Northeastern University ecologist David Kimbro claims to have watched a lot of TV growing up, particularly The Brady Bunch. “You could kind of get a flavor for how an episode was going to turn out based on how Jan or Peter were faring — you know, the middle kids,” said Kimbro, an assistant professor in the Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences.
 
He and his colleagues — associate professor Jon Grabowski and assistant professor Randall Hughes, ecology experts with labs at Northeastern’s Marine Science Center — think a similar pattern shows up in oyster reefs, where the behavior of the “middle child” in the predator-prey food chain plays a strong role in determining how the reef as a whole will fare. New research from the team, published online on Tuesday in the journal Ecology Letters, gives that hunch even more support.
 
The work complicates the evolution of a paradigm that has pervaded ecology since the 1960s, namely that the species at the top of the food web dictate the welfare of the entire system simply by eating.
 
Read the full story at Northeastern University>>

About the author

© Diversified Communications. All rights reserved.