Aquatic predators affect carbon-storing plant life

Species at top of freshwater food web can indirectly limit buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere

By Janet Raloff, 15:57 PM February 17, 2013

In ecosystems around the world, big guys eat littler guys, who in turn eat plants and other organisms at the base of the food web. A study now finds that removing top predators in freshwater environments allows their prey to flourish — and overgraze on plants and algae. The result of the missing plant matter: a 93 percent reduction in uptake and storage of carbon dioxide.

Several research teams have explored the importance of predators in protecting organisms that store carbon, notes ecolog...

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