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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Friday, May 16, 2014

To continue the back and forth about the value that top down trophic carnivores have in keeping natural systems functioning in an optimum way, we today look at the findings of Brown University ecologist Mark Bertness and his research into the decline of salt marshes in New England.............."The marshes are dying off due to fishing and crabbing adversely affecting the food webs of these marshes".............. "If people pull out striped bass and blue crabs and other predators from a salt marsh, the animals’ prey species — including those that feed on plants, like marsh crabs — are left to thrive"...... "A growing population of marsh crabs seemingly are wiping out the cordgrass in the marshes"............ "Without the roots of the cordgrass to anchor the soil, the marsh erodes, making it harder for new plants to grow".......While Bertness acknowledges that there may be many other top down and bottom up influencers affecting the health of the marshes, his findings do lend further credence to Ripple, Laundre et al.'s work in Yellowstone showing the impacts of wolves on prey and herbivory species health

Try this link:
When Predators Vanish, So Does the Ecosystem -
The salt marshes of New England are dying. An experiment finds that removing predators allows herbivores to denude their marsh habitat in a flash.

Salt marshes like this one on Cape Cod are losing their 
vegetation, and
 scientists are struggling to find the root causes. New
 research says that 
plant-eating crabs may be playing a role in the
 destruction. CreditMark Bertness

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