text-only page produced automatically by LIFT Text Transcoder Skip all navigation and go to page contentSkip top navigation and go to directorate navigationSkip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation
News
design element
News
News From the Field
For the News Media
Special Reports
Research Overviews
NSF-Wide Investments
Speeches & Lectures
NSF Current Newsletter
Multimedia Gallery
Search Multimedia
Image
Video
Audio
More
Multimedia in the News
NSF Executive Staff
News Archive
 

Email this pagePrint this page
"Mess O' Predators" -- The Discovery Files


The Discovery Files
Audio Play Audio
The Discovery Files podcast is available through iTunes or you can add the RSS feed to your podcast receiver. You can also access the series via AudioNow® by calling 405-875-0058 on any telephone.

A new study led by Oregan State University shows that declining populations of "apex" predators such as wolves, lions or sharks has led to a huge increase in smaller "mesopredators" that are causing major economic and ecological disruptions.

Credit: NSF/Karson Productions

Audio Transcript:

(SOUND EFFECT: wolf howl) Wolf at the Door.

I'm Bob Karson with the discovery files -- new advances in science and engineering from the National Science Foundation.

Lions and wolves and cougars and sharks -- oh, my! A new study led by Oregon State University is looking at the world's A-list predators. Known as 'apex' predators, their numbers are drastically shrinking and throwing entire ecosystems out of balance. Large numbers of the B-listers (or, mesopredators) are proliferating.

The elimination of wolves, for instance, seemed like a good idea at the time to protect livestock. (SOUND EFFECT: buzzer -- wrong!) With the wolves disappearing, tons of coyotes step in and bring with them more problems than the wolves would have caused in the first place. And no, if you got rid of the coyotes, it's not like roadrunners are going to take over. (SOUND EFFECT: meep meep!)

The effects of exploding mesopredator populations can be found in oceans, rivers, and grasslands all over the world and that's a mess o' mesopredators!

It's a complex environmental challenge with no easy answers. The study shows that: economically, it may be cheaper to return apex predators to the population than to do damage-control later. Larger predators are usually carnivores -- mesopredators are omnivores -- they go for livestock and crops. And it's becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to reverse the trend.

The future may depend on the cunning and resourcefulness of perhaps the smartest apex predator -- us.

"The Discovery Files" covers projects funded by the government's National Science Foundation. Federally sponsored research -- brought to you, by you! Learn more at nsf.gov or on our podcast.

 
General Restrictions:
Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.

Images credited to the National Science Foundation, a federal agency, are in the public domain. The images were created by employees of the United States Government as part of their official duties or prepared by contractors as "works for hire" for NSF. You may freely use NSF-credited images and, at your discretion, credit NSF with a "Courtesy: National Science Foundation" notation. Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.

MP3 icon
NSF podcasts are in mp3 format for easy download to desktop and laptops, as well as mobile devices capable of playing them.

 



Email this pagePrint this page
Back to Top of page