Inhibitory analysis in ecology.
This is about a discovery and innovation in environmental sciences and ecology, item 3 on the list of 18 (the list see here )
This new approach in ecology allows to see better the real role of organisms of a higher trophic level in regulation of the organisms of a lower trophic level.
The method that was applied was to inhibit the functional activity of the organisms of a higher trophic level and to observe the consequences: what happens with the organisms of a LOWER trophic level.
It was done by the inventor of this methodology in the laboratory experimental systems with bivalve mollusks that that a higher trophic level organisms as compared to phytoplankton algae. The algae are a lower trophic level organisms as compared to bivalve mollusks. The bivalves feed on algae.
In my experiments, I decreased trophic activity of bivalves using special chemical inhibitors. I used my previous discovery that some chemical – surfactants – can decrease filtering activity of bivalves (more about this discovery see: http://sergostroumov.scienceblog.com/2012/04/15/new-facts-on-hazardous-biological-and-toxic-effects-of-surfactants-and-detergents-paradigm-shifted/ ).
The result of this series of experiments was very clear: as a result of my inhibition of the organisms of the higher trophic level (bivalves) I observed a very significant increase in abundance of the organisms of a lower trophic level (algae). The increase was – in some experiments – manifold.
What is the significance of this scientific result? It is really important as the abundance of phytoplankton algae is of great practical importance in such phenomena as eutrophication and algal blooms (also cyanobacterial blooms, red tides, brown tides, etc.). As a result, we got an instrument that helps us to evaluate and quantify the role of organisms of a higher trophic level (such as bivalve mollusks in water bodies and streams) to regulate and control the organisms of a lower trophic level (such as phytoplankton algae and cyanobacteria). Actually it is about how nature prevents us and itself from environmental disasters which happen when we damage those beneficial natural mechanisms of control. We know those disasters under the names of eutrophication and algal blooms.
The summary is given below.
A new approach was developed to explore top-down control in ecosystems: eutrophication, algal bloom, water self-purification.
New facts were discovered by the author about the organisms which are filter-feeders (suspension-feeders), these facts led to developing the new methodology to quantify the natural control mechanisms described above.
This new approach gave methodology to quantitatively estimate the role of organisms in regulation via food web in ecosystem. See more detail about this discovery on the site  and in the publication .
2 Key publication: http://www.moip.msu.ru/?p=154;
3 The list of 18 items on key discoveries and innovations:
interesting posts on innovations in environmental science:
regulation, trophic level, food chain, eutrophication, algal blooms, cyanobacterial blooms, red tide, brown tide, filter-feeders, bivalves, water bodies, streams,
ecological, discoveries, 2012, science, terminological,
About the author: