Matthew Bracken: Loss of rare species can harm ecosystems

Matthew Bracken: Loss of rare species can harm ecosystemsHere’s another reason to cheer for the little guy. A new study co-authored by Matthew Bracken, assistant professor of biology in Northeastern’s College of Science, has found that rare species from the bottom of the food chain can have a large impact on an ecosystem’s health.

The findings were published in March in the online edition of the scientific journal Ecology Letters.

Bracken and Brown University student Natalie Low conducted several experiments that analyzed the impact of removing seaweed and sessile animals, such as mussels and barnacles, from the rocky shores of Northeastern’s Marine Science Center in Nahant, Mass. The experiments were designed to mimic naturally occurring changes in biodiversity on rocky shores.

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