Enjoy that fish & tomato sandwich while you can

Tasty fish & tomatoes
Tasty fish & tomatoesCourtesy Robert and Mihaela Vicol
Fish and tomatoes compete for resources.

Yep, they do, and that resource is water.

The authors of a new report out in this week's issue of the journal Science are reminding folks of that fact.

John Sabo, a biologist at Arizona State University and lead author of the report told NSF News that "Humans may need to make hard decisions about how to allocate water so that we grow the right food, but still leave enough in rivers to sustain fish populations."

His comments stem from the report's findings that human actions--agricultural irrigation, dam construction, and the collective activities that lead to climate change--alter the natural variability of river flows and in the process shorten river food chains, particularly eliminating top predators like many large-bodied fish.
A now dry Colorado River delta branches into the Baja/Sonoran Desert near the Sea of Cortez
A now dry Colorado River delta branches into the Baja/Sonoran Desert near the Sea of CortezCourtesy Pete McBride

"Floods and droughts shorten the food chain, but they do it in different ways," Sabo explained. "Floods simplify the food web by taking out some of the intermediate players so the big fish begin to eat lower on the chain," Sabo said. "With droughts, it's completely different: droughts eliminate the top predator altogether because many fish can't tolerate the low oxygen and high temperatures that result when a stream starts drying out."

Sabo and co-authors--Jacques Finlay, from the University of Minnesota, Theodore Kennedy from the U.S. Geological Survey Southwest Biological Science Center, and David Post from Yale University--suggest that the fate of large-bodied fishes should be more carefully factored into the management of water use, especially as growing human populations and climate change affect water availability.

According to Sabo, "The question becomes: can you have fish and tomatoes on the same table?"

The Role of Discharge Variation in Scaling of Drainage Area and Food Chain Length in Rivers
John L. Sabo, Jacques. C. Finlay, Theodore Kennedy, and David M. Post (14 October 2010)
Science [DOI: 10.1126/science.1196005]

[It's Blog Action Day 2010, and this year's theme is water.]

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

well i do alot of fishing back in iowa so ya

posted on Tue, 12/28/2010 - 12:20pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i couldn't eat fish and tomatoes at the same time

posted on Thu, 12/30/2010 - 3:12pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i love fish and i love tomatoes but i could never eat them together

posted on Thu, 12/30/2010 - 3:13pm
Maggie Erickson's picture
Maggie Erickson says:

Fish is my favorite kind to eat at restaurant's they have lots of fish but not raw fish ewww

posted on Tue, 01/04/2011 - 12:58pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

this is really weird!!!!!!!!!!!!!

posted on Sat, 01/15/2011 - 11:33am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i know this really werid but its cool

posted on Sat, 03/05/2011 - 2:57pm
Igor's picture
Igor says:

Fish and tomato sandwich? Gross!!!

posted on Sat, 03/26/2011 - 12:34pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

fish is good tomato ish

posted on Wed, 05/04/2011 - 9:10am

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