Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Posts Tagged ‘ecology

Josh Dolan on the importance of history

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Important even for journalists:

Here is recent article about beavers in the UK newspaper – The Guardian. This is a classic example of how a lack of appreciation for ecological history leads to ignorance. The journalist tries to compare the ecological consequences of North American beaver that have been introduced to southern South America some 50 years ago with the reintroduction plans of European beaver to the UK – where they were present just a couple of hundred years ago! Beavers were an important ecosystem driver in Europe for millennia; we should be reintroducing them when and where we can. North American beaver are invasive to South America and are an ecological disaster. Take home message: history informs our conservation strategies.

Written by Leisureguy

31 July 2008 at 2:24 pm

Posted in Education, Media

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Alien species wreaking havoc in Caribbean

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I doubt that our species will ever learn that introducing foreign species leads to severe problems—rabbits, cane toads, and dogs into Australia, the starling and the English sparrow into the US, the zebra mussel into the Great Lakes (though it does seem to be cleaning the water), snakehead fish into domestic waterways, and now lionfish into the Caribbean. It’s almost as if humanity is deliberately destroying its environment.

Lionfish -- photo from Oregon State University

Lionfish -- photo from Oregon State University

The invasion of predatory lionfish [click photo to enlarge – LG] in the Caribbean region poses yet another major threat there to coral reef ecosystems — a new study has found that within a short period after the entry of lionfish into an area, the survival of other reef fishes is slashed by about 80 percent.

Aside from the rapid and immediate mortality of marine life, the loss of herbivorous fish also sets the stage for seaweeds to potentially overwhelm the coral reefs and disrupt the delicate ecological balance in which they exist, according to scientists from Oregon State University.

Following on the heels of overfishing, sediment depositions, nitrate pollution in some areas, coral bleaching caused by global warming, and increasing ocean acidity caused by carbon emissions, the lionfish invasion is a serious concern, said Mark Hixon, an OSU professor of zoology and expert on coral reef ecology.

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Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2008 at 9:18 am

Posted in Daily life, Environment, Science

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