New research finds predators are key to ecosystem stability
A new study published in the journal Nature by researchers at the University of Chicago provides further evidence of the ecological importance of predators like Mexican wolves.
The study reveals that the type and strength of interactions among species, particularly interactions between predators and their prey, are the keys to preventing ecosystems from unraveling and species going extinct.
Their modeling results led the researchers to conclude that predator/prey relationships--more than other types of interactions--provide the stability that enables an almost infinite numbers of species to exist in ecosystems. They do so by keeping the size of species populations in check at supportable levels. As one of them explained, "When prey are high, predators increase and reduce the number of prey by predation. When predators are high, prey decrease and thus reduce the number of predators by starvation."