We present to your attention a new movie by Pavel Glazkov and Dmitry Lajus “Wasp Waist” of the White Sea Ecosystem”
A person is arranged in such a way that he pays attention, first of all, to large and beautiful animals, these are usually predators or those animals that he traditionally hunts. This is true for fish as well. From the White Sea fish, first of all, attention is attracted by salmon, whitefish, brown trout, cod, wolffish, flounder, to a lesser extent – navaga, smelt, sculpin. However, these fish, even being fairly numerous in terms of species, make up only a very small proportion of the inhabitants of the sea and do not determine the shape of the ecosystem. A much greater role in the ecosystem is played by small fish, which mainly feed on plankton and serve as food for predatory fish and birds. These are the key species of the ecosystem. There are usually few of them. They connect the upper (predators) and lower (zooplankton) trophic levels of the ecosystem, which are much more numerous than them in terms of species. It turns out a kind of “wasp waist”, through which most of the energy of the ecosystem flows. It is the most important gear in the large and complex mechanism of the ecosystem. Accordingly, the study of wasp waist species gives us much more than other species in terms of understanding how the ecosystem lives and changes.
In the White Sea, the “wasp waist” is formed by the three-spined stickleback and herring. But if herring, being a commercial fish, has been studied for a long time and in detail, we know much less about stickleback, despite the fact that in summer it makes up 90% of all fish in the coastal zone of the White Sea. This, as well as the rapid growth of its population with warming and interesting features of biology, made the three-spined stickleback the hero of this film and our entire project.
The movie contains interviews of experienced and young scientists, as well as students who study the life of this most interesting fish and try to answer important and difficult questions of modern biology about how marine ecosystems respond to global changes caused by humans. We hope that the work will be interesting not only for marine biologists, but for all naturalists. It is done in Russian but it has English subtitles as well.
The movie was created with the support of our project. Filming was carried out in the vicinity of the ERS “Belomorskaia” St. Petersburg State University (Kandalaksha Bay, White Sea, Republic of Karelia) in the summer of 2019. The duration of the film is 22 minutes.
We express our gratitude to the entire film crew for their hard work and contribution to the dissemination of biological and environmental knowledge. We are also grateful to the administration of the ERS “Belomorskaia” for their help in filming.