Coastal wetlands are dominated by a variety of plants adapted to a stressful environment. In the absence of a significant number of herbivores, the growth of these plants was thought to be limited only by nutrient availability. Through experiments, Dr. Brian Silliman revealed that salt marshes, like many other terrestrial ecosystems, are mainly controlled by the top-down forces of herbivores and other consumers.
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Two leading ecologists describe the complex interactions between species and their environment in aquatic ecosystems. Using field experiments, the researchers illustrate how interactions among organisms such as fish, crab, insects, snails, and algae determine the vitality of rivers and coastal...