Geography 200
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Rescooped by Elizabeth Bitgood from Geography Education!

Island Biogeography

Part I, island biogeography in a World Regional here to watch part II, why island biogeography matters in places that aren't on islands.  All links archived at:

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This video presentation gives a good description of why islands have a varied and different forms of species on the islands.  The isolation gives them a strong hold in their particular environment but this is a double edged sword because they lack predation or stronger comparators so they become very adapted to their place but cannot compete when a stronger adaptor for generalized environment comes to the island.  Like cats that are brought to the isolated island and then proceed to cause mass extinctions.

Al Picozzi's curator insight, December 7, 2013 10:56 AM

I really could see the idea of island biogeography when looking at islands and the ocean and how they species could develop that way.  Until I saw this video I do not think I could have made that cross over to continents.  Now I do see it.  If we build something across an open plain it will effect how species roam the area.  I remeber seeing pictures of the Alaskan pipeline raised in certain area and could not until now figure out why.  Now I know it was done, at least partly for, environmental reasons. So animals could still travel under it in order to move about.  If not Alaska would have been cut in half and prevented the animals form moving across the pipeline.  So as nature effected the developement of species with the rising and falling of ocean levels and islands, human effect the developmentof species with roads, farms and cities to name just a few.

Maegan Connor's curator insight, December 8, 2013 11:35 AM

I find the island biogeography to be really awesome because it's as if the small South Pacific islands are a completely separate world in terms of the creatures that live in the isolated environments.  Growing up, the idea of the Komodo Dragon was terrifying and amazing because lizards are just supposed to be little, ugly reptiles and the existence of one large enough to eat us and named after the beasts in fairytales was fascinating.  In Rhode Island, there isn't much in terms of exotic wildlife but even the species throughtout the rest of the U.S. don't completely compare to the rare creatures on the islands that have adapted to the conditions of living on small pieces of land.

The land bridge is something I don't recall ever hearing of before and the way that it influences the animals' evolution and expansion is fascinating.  I think of it in terms of humans because when immigrants cross seas to go to different countries, they are forced to adapt and they're families evolve differently than they would have in their homeland. The land bridge provided similar challenges for the marsupials and reptiles that are/were located on the secluded islands.

Once again, I also find myself extremely annoyed with man's habit of killing off rare species for the selfish reasons of owning land and not being hunted by the animals whose land they've encroached upon.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 10:03 PM

Just because the world island is in island biogeography doesn't mean it is only to be discussed and looked at on islands. There is great importance of exploring this specific part of geography on land that is not solely surrounded by water.

Rescooped by Elizabeth Bitgood from Geography Education!

Six-Legged Giant Finds Secret Hideaway, Hides For 80 Years

Six-Legged Giant Finds Secret Hideaway, Hides For 80 Years | Geography 200 |
The insect is so large — as big as a human hand — it's been dubbed a "tree lobster." It was thought to be extinct, but some enterprising entomologists scoured a barren hunk of rock in the middle of the ocean and found surviving Lord Howe Island...


Island Biogeography is endlessly fascinating and provides some of the most striking species we have on Earth.  The physical habitat is fragmented and the genetic diversity is limited.  Within this context, species evolve to fill ecological niches within their particular locale.  This NPR article demonstrates the story of but one of these incredible species that never could have evolved on the continents.  In modern society, more extinctions are happening on islands than anywhere else as 'specialist' species are in greater competition with 'generalists.' 

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article freeked me out at first.  The idea of hand sized bugs is just…yuck!  But after reading the article I found it very interesting.  That these bugs managed to survive on a single bush on an island isolated from the world.  The description of them as acting un-buglike by peering off into couples that sleep cuddling with each other is just kind of cool.

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, April 23, 5:46 PM

Lord Howe Island is remnants of volcanic matter. On this "Island" is a creature that is known as the "tree lobster". This creature is so large that is can cover a humans whole hand. All I can say is, if that "tree lobster" came anywhere within 10 feet of me i would swim back to the mainland quicker than you can spell Australia!

Jessica Rieman's curator insight, April 23, 5:56 PM

When reading I found out that they call it "Ball's Pyramid"because that is what is left from the last volcano that emerged from the sea about 7 million years ago."British naval officer named Ball was the first European to see it in 1788. It sits off Australia, in the South Pacific. It is extremely narrow, 1,844 feet high, and it sits alone.

What's more, for years this place had a secret. At 225 feet above sea level, hanging on the rock surface, there is a small, spindly little bush, and under that bush, a few years ago, two climbers, working in the dark, found something totally improbable hiding in the soil below. How it got there, we still don't know."

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, April 25, 10:35 AM

On Ball's Pyramid the stick insect is different than any other insect I have seen. The size of it is terrifying, as it as big as a human hand. There are many different kinds of animals or insects someone can find on remote islands, islands such as Madagascar, Australia and even on this small island, which is located off of Australia's coast in the Pacific.    

Rescooped by Elizabeth Bitgood from Geography Education!

Aral Sea Basin

Aral Sea Basin | Geography 200 |

"Dust blows from what was once the Aral Sea floor. Tragic mismanagement of a natural resource."

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This startling picture from space of the Aral Sea is heartbreaking.  The destruction of this inland sea is a terrible thing to behold.

Maegan Connor's curator insight, December 17, 2013 7:20 PM

The destruction that man can cause is sickening and will be our ultimate downfall as all the major resources of the world are used up for industry. The shrinking of the Aral Sea has had harsh consequences on the region making it much harder to sustain the populations in the area because agriculture and fishing industries have been ruined. Health problems and drought are now rampant in the area and it is all because of humankind.

Joseph Thacker 's curator insight, February 20, 9:49 PM

This is a sad reality humans must live with forever and something we as people must learn from. A man made disaster that occurred many years ago has a negative impact on areas surrounding the shrinking Aral Sea to this day. People cannot exploit an area of water this large, as this is not only harming the environment, but many human beings, as well

Jess Deady's curator insight, April 30, 8:36 PM

The Aral Sea Basin has been a topic of conversation throughout geography for many reasons. What used to be filled with water is now blowing dust because its that dry? This basin is no longer a natural resource.