How Starfish Changed Modern Ecology
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How Starfish Changed Modern Ecology


– [Narrator] For Bob, the tide
pool is a natural laboratory. There are hunters, and filter feeders, scavengers, and plants
giving food and shelter. (gentle orchestral music) And among the mussels, and barnacles, anemones, and snails,
a large predator lurks. (water bubbling) Despite appearances,
starfish are skilled hunters. Each of their arms carry eye-like sensors. (driving orchestral music) Starfish use their tubed
feet to pursue prey. They can pry open mussels, devouring them in their shells. (orchestral music intensifies) (water bubbling) Here, Paine conducts one
of the simplest experiments in the history of biology. He removes starfish from one tide pool while leaving them in another. (driving orchestral music) Months after months, Paine returns, clearing out starfish. And he sees the tide pool changing. There are more mussels, but less of everything else. (brooding orchestral music) Eight years later, the impact is dramatic. (brooding orchestral music intensifies) The mussels are all that remain. That indicates that the starfish have been preventing the
mussels from taking over. The predator maintains
the entire community from the top down. Without them, it all falls apart. (objects crumbling) (wind whistling) (dramatic orchestral music)

19 thoughts on “How Starfish Changed Modern Ecology

  1. Reminds me of how sea urchins started destroying the kelp forests when humans killed most of the otters on the Pacific coast.

  2. The way I see it is that if the starfish didn't hunt them so relentlessly the poor molluscs wouldn't have adapted to being so prolific themselves.

  3. My favorite power of the starfish is that he pushes out his stomach so he can scoop up the juice from the inside of the mussle while prying it open🐚🐚

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