Arguments for the need to conserve aquatic predator (AP) populations often focus on the ecological and socioeconomic roles they play. Here, we summarize the diverse ecosystem functions and services connected to APs, including regulating food webs, cycling nutrients, engineering habitats, transmitting diseases/parasites, mediating ecological invasions, affecting climate, supporting fisheries, generating tourism, and providing bioinspiration. In some cases, human-driven declines and increases in AP populations have altered these ecosystem functions and services. We present a social ecological framework for supporting adaptive management decisions involving APs in response to social and environmental change. We also identify outstanding questions to guide future research on the ecological functions and ecosystem services of APs in a changing world.
- ecosystem effects
- trophic cascade
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics