Biologist, Conservationist, & Portlander. My passion lives in Africa.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Overfishing alters food chains to the extreme.

11:22 PM Posted by Tara Easter No comments
Photo credit: Catherine Jubb

Cannibalism has been observed in many different forms of nature. In Nambia, I learned about the white lady spider, who waits underground for the vibrations of nearby prey, or male wanting to mate. The male will perform a "dance" that supplies a rhythm that the female senses underneath. If she likes it, they will mate, but if she doesn't, she will often eat him instead. 

photo credit: David Doubliet
My favorite example is the notorious intrauterine cannibalism performed by some shark species. This is when the strongest or most developed embryo literally eats the other embryos and eggs in the uterus of the shark for nutrition. It is true survival of the fittest before birth.

But until now, only in captivity had lobster cannibalism ever been witnessed. In this article on Marine Science Today, it describes the behavior now being documented in the wild. The overfished stocks of the lobsters' main predator, cod and halibut, combined with the warmer waters in Maine due to climate change, has led to a drastic boom in Maine lobster populations. So much so, they have turned on each other for food. 

Banded lobster claw. Photo credit: junehug via photopin cc

I can't be the only one who's as concerned about the effects we have on our ecosystems...

Not only that, but tensions rise in the business world too as Canadian markets suffer from Maine lobsters sudden drop in price. Simple supply and demand, as this article on Reuters states at the end. The depletion of our resources never ends well. 


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