[MARMAM] Announcing a documentary film

James Estes jestes at ucsc.edu
Mon Nov 4 15:33:42 PST 2019

I wish to draw your attention to *The Serengeti Rules*, a recently released
documentary film on keystone species and trophic cascades. Although the
film is not exclusively about marine mammals, a significant part of it
focuses on marine mammals and their associated ecosystems in the North
Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea. The film comes in two flavors—a longer
version (currently showing at various theaters in the United States and
abroad) and a shorter television version that showed recently on PBS Nature
(https://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/the-serengeti-rules-41dfru/). Both
versions build on seminal ideas of the late Robert T. Paine by tracing the
work of four other scientists who followed in Paine’s footsteps—John
Terborgh, Tony Sinclair, Mary Power, and me. This conceptual foundation
provides a way of comparing marine mammals with coastal, fresh water, and
terrestrial apex predators. Surprisingly, the challenges for their
conservation have many overlaps.

Although I was featured exclusive in the marine mammal portion of the film,
many members of the marine mammal community were involved in the science of
this film. I therefore wish to acknowledge the following people; J. F.
Palmisano for discovery of the keystone role of sea otters in kelp forest
ecosystems; D.F. Doak, M.T. Tinker, and T.M. Williams for discovery of the
likely role of killer whale predation in the collapse of sea otters and
coastal ecosystems in southwest Alaska; A.M. Springer and G.B. van Vliet
for the initial discover of the role of whaling in the Sequential
Megafaunal Collapse Hypothesis, and E.M. Danner, D.F. Doak, K.A. Forney, B.
Pfister, and T.M. Williams for their contributions regarding the decline of
sea otters and pinnipeds in southwest Alaska as initiated by industrial
 James A. Estes
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of California
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
jestes at ucsc.edu
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