Ecosystem Function and Services of Aquatic Predators in the Anthropocene

Neil Hammerschlag, Oswald J. Schmitz, Alexander S. Flecker, Kevin D. Lafferty, Andrew Sih, Trisha B. Atwood, Austin J. Gallagher, Duncan J. Irschick, Rachel Skubel, Steven J. Cooke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-383
Number of pages15
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • ecosystem effects
  • lake
  • ocean
  • predator
  • river
  • trophic cascade

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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