Friday, July 27, 2007

 

Giant Cannibals

Know what overfishing an adult population of fish leads to?

That's right. Giant cannibals.
The research suggests that harvesting only large fish knocks out the food competition for the remaining adults, allowing the adults to gorge on smaller fish and inflate to gigantic proportions. The effect is strongest for fish prone to cannibalizing their own. A Eurasian perch growing in such a situation, for example, can become more than four times as big as an adult fish the same age in a body of water not heavily fished.

"The destabilization of a cannibalistic population can induce the growth of 'cannibalistic giants,'" scientists write in the August edition of the American Naturalist. Further, the population becomes less stable and more susceptible to crashing into extinction, especially as the rate of fishing increases. The giants were not found to develop in the virtual populations spared from harvesting.

The effect also applies to fish species that are not cannibals, but it is less pronounced and does not tend to push the population toward extinction, the computer model suggests.
Feels like there's a story in there somewhere...

Comments:
Maybe that's why the Dinosaurs were so big. ;)
 
Mmm. Question is, when fishing for dinosaurs, would you use live bait or a lure?
 
I thought that said Giant Cannabis for a second.
 
That's a whole 'nother kind of sport there...
 
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