Over the past several weeks, I have been working on a new video for CreatureCast. Today, I’m pleased to be able to share it with you! This latest video illustrates the power of trophic cascades. Trophic cascades exist in a number of diverse ecosystems. They occur when the population of one organism changes, and thereby alters the dynamics of an entire food web. This CreatureCast features one such cascade, which has caused the rampant die-off of cordgrass in Cape Cod salt marshes. It follows the story of the “purple marsh crab”, Sesarma reticulatum, whose numbers have skyrocketed due to the removal of their predators. Along the way, we are reminded that our actions can have amplified and unforeseen consequences on ecosystems and organisms whom we may have never even encountered.
All of the illustrations and artwork in the video are original, and the music is used with permission from Oyster Boy.
Stephanie Yin, from Mark Bertness’s lab (http://bertnesslab.com/) at Brown University, tells the story of how marshes in New England have died back as populations of the crab Sesarma have grown.
Visit http://creaturecast.org for more stories about the unexpected world of Biology.
The hand-drawn animations were photographed at the Brown University Science Center (http://brown.edu/academics/science-center/). Music by Oyster Bay (http://oysterboy.bandcamp.com/).