thumbnail

Introduced predators transform subarctic islands from grassland to tundra

Science

By:
, , , ,
DOI: 10.1126/science.1108485

Links

Abstract

Top predators often have powerful direct effects on prey populations, but whether these direct effects propagate to the base of terrestrial food webs is debated. There are few examples of trophic cascades strong enough to alter the abundance and composition of entire plant communities. We show that the introduction of arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) to the Aleutian archipelago induced strong shifts in plant productivity and community structure via a previously unknown pathway. By preying on seabirds, foxes reduced nutrient transport from ocean to land, affecting soil fertility and transforming grasslands to dwarf shrub/forb-dominated ecosystems.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Introduced predators transform subarctic islands from grassland to tundra
Series title:
Science
DOI:
10.1126/science.1108485
Volume
307
Issue:
5717
Year Published:
2005
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
First page:
1959
Last page:
1961
Number of Pages:
3