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How salmon populations affect ecosystems

Narrator: This is Science Today. Salmon are a key food source for grizzly bears in British Columbia and Alaska. University of California, Santa Cruz wildlife ecologist Chris Wilmers has studied the relationship between salmon and terrestrial ecosystems.

Wilmers: So, grizzly bears and bald eagles are major consumers of salmon and we're trying to understand how this abundant salmon resource supports these populations of grizzly bears and bald eagles and then the subsequent effects of having these large carnivores and high densities because of salmon, how they then influence the rest of the ecosystem.

Narrator: The more salmon migrate into coastal streams, the more grizzlies will benefit and this can lead to improvements for the ecosystem and eventually the offshore salmon catch.

Wilmers: And so by better understanding the impacts of salmon on the terrestrial animals that depend on them, we can better understand how to manage the fisheries so that we can maximize the benefit to all players.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.