The tsunami of 2011 is well remembered in Japan. Some towns have recovered, while others struggle to return to a life that once was. The same is true for ecosystems. In a new study in PLOS ONE, Japanese researchers report how the sea life in different coastal regions of Japan struck by the tsunami have flourished or faltered.
(From ScienceDaily)– “We watched in real time an ecosystem recover from a large natural disaster,” said Reiji Masuda, who directs the Maizuru Fisheries Research Station at Kyoto University and led the study. “We could observe how species recovered and whether any invading species could thrive.”
Even though, like the rest of the country, the authors were still in mourning in 2011, they also recognized the uniqueness of the opportunity and set up four research stations in Eastern Japan within two months of the tsunami. They then continued to collect data for the next five years.
“We found a very logical progression. First, small fish with short lifespans thrived, but gradually larger fish with longer lifespans began to recover, stabilizing the populations of the small fish. Also, body lengths got longer over the years, suggesting that the environment was supporting healthy recovery.”
The smaller fish recovered first because of their short reproductive cycle and the absence of predators. Another reason for their recovery, hypothesizes Masuda, was the new abundance of food.
Read the full article here: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161213115659.htm