April 7 2010

12:00 LSB 2320

Chris Wilmers
Dept. of Environmental Science and Policy, UC Davis

Do top predators mitigate the effects of climate change on ecosystems?


Atmospheric carbon levels have risen substantially since pre-industrial times leading to unprecedented rates of global warming and ocean acidification. As a result, a number of mitigation measures have been proposed, such as dumping iron in the oceans to precipitate algal blooms, seeding the atmosphere with solar reflective materials, etc., all of which have met with strong resistance because of their extreme artificiality and potential for unanticipated environmental impacts. In this talk, we explore a remarkably simple process, rooted in ecological theory, which could help mitigate atmospheric carbon levels. Namely, that top predators, by suppressing herbivores, can lead to substantial increases in plant uptake of atmospheric carbon. In addition, we explore whether top predators buffer or exacerbate the effects of climate variability on ecological communities.















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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