Coming to theatres today, Friday, May 10:
THE SERENGETI RULES
CPH:DOX, Hamptons, Jackson Hole, Bergen, Maui, Vancouver, Global Peace,
Scientists explore the impact of keystone species on ecosystems.
In 1969, zoologist Bob Paine developed a pioneering ecological theory that posited that within different ecosystems, certain species played a critical role in maintaining the whole. If these keystone species – in Paine’s research, starfish – were removed from the habitat, there would be a drastic, and typically detrimental, domino effect on other organisms. In some cases, these keystone species are apex predators, those at the top of the food chain, with no natural predators. Nicholas Brown’s film, which is framed around interviews and narration with Paine at the end of his life, profiles several other scientists and their work with the concept of keystone species in diverse settings, from the impact of whaling on otters, kelp, and fish to wildebeest in the Serengeti. While the production is a bit over the top at times, it benefits, unlike many other traditionally doom-and-gloom environmentally-themed projects, by the hopeful message that reintroducing keystone species within downgraded ecosystems can reverse the damage.