We recognize three levels of extinction–global, local, and ecological – and provide examples of each. The protection and recovery of sea otters (Enhydra lutris) has provided abundant evidence of the consequences of their local extinction from kelp forest communities in the North Pacifc Ocean. These consequences include release of benthic invertebrate populations from limitation by predation; deforestation of kelp beds due to increased grazing by herbivorous sea urchins, one of the otter's main prey; and various cascading effects resulting from the biological and physical importance of kelp in coastal ecosystems. These interactions probably were important agents of selection for certain species.
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Sep 1, 1989
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