Geography 200
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Island Biogeography

Part I, island biogeography in a World Regional context...click here to watch part II, why island biogeography matters in places that aren't on islands.  All links archived at: http://geographyeducation.org/2013/12/06/island-biogeography/


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.

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Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, May 4, 2015 12:35 PM

There are times where I wish certain species don't spread.  Other times I understand the migration and think it's great.  If humans died out then I believe all species would flourish just as Sir Ken Robinson says.  

Corine Ramos's curator insight, December 8, 2015 8:19 PM

Island biogeography operates on different principles than we see on the continents.  Soem extraordinary creatures such as the komodo dragon and thylacine can be found in isolated places removed interactions with more generalist species.  Alfred Russel Wallace made some extraordinary discoveries combining biology and spatial thinking. 

 

Island biogeography is pertinent today since habitat fragmentation (from urbanization and argicultural land uses) has rendered 'islands' out of the wilderness that isn't being used by humanity.  Some animals such as the cougar are locally extinct from their historic ranges (extirpation).


Tags: biogeography, environment, ecology, Australia, Oceania.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 11:06 PM
Island Biogeography is the theoretical explanations as to why species occurs, it also studies the species composition and species richness on an island.. it is not specific to land masses around water. Isolation gives species a strong place in their environment. The fact that new species and things show up are amazing, but sometimes new species are not properly adapted because there is no other general force against them and they do not ever learn to defend themselves.
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A parched Syria turned to war, scholar says; Egypt may be next

A parched Syria turned to war, scholar says; Egypt may be next | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
Prof. Arnon Sofer sets out the link between drought, Assad’s civil war, and the wider strains in the Middle East; Jordan and Gaza are also in deep trouble, he warns

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article makes the connection between lower fresh water availability and war.  The argument that as water becomes scares, farmers leave their fields and head to the cities.  The cities are ill-equipped to handle the inflow of people and the greater demand on its water resources creating unrest and discontent.  This is an interesting way of looking at the conflicts in the area.

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Nathan Chasse's curator insight, April 1, 2014 11:25 AM

The article explains how population growth, climate change, drought, and water shortages could have contributed to the rise of war in Syria. This is an interesting interpretation, one which certainly could have been a contributing factor, but not all the Arab Spring can be attributed to water shortages so it is not a direct cause. The water shortages in Syria and a lack of government response certainly could have fanned flames which already existed due to an oppressive regime and regional conflicts. Climate change gets a lot of attention for the potential damage it could do to the environment, but I had not given much thought to the conflicts it could cause between nations and peoples.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 3:22 PM

Egypt may be the next country to be in deep trouble. With so many militant attacks coming out of Egypt to being with there is no surprise that the Middle East thinks it will be next on the list.

Pamela Hills's curator insight, July 18, 2014 8:37 AM

 A world at war and hot spots are growing with people caught in middle <3

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Freshwater Stores Shrank in Tigris-Euphrates Basin

Freshwater Stores Shrank in Tigris-Euphrates Basin | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
An arid region grew even drier between 2003 and 2009 due to human consumption of water for drinking and agriculture.

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

The use of water is an increasing problem in the arid regions of the world.  The use of more sophisticated irrigation systems allow for more planting which requires more water.  Coupled with increasing towns and cities needing fresh water for the inhabitants this decrease in fresh water will only continue to trend.

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James Hobson's curator insight, October 22, 2014 6:24 PM

(Southwest Asia topic 2)

The area known as the Cradle of Humanity is becoming less hospitable. Though natural climate change can be attributed to the dryer conditions, humans have made just as much of an impact. Increased water usage leads to less reserve. Impacts stretch further, however. Less water flow below the dam can lead to changes in sedimentation patterns and disrupt wildlife habitats, potentially causing harm to wildlife.

Alex Vielman's curator insight, November 25, 2015 2:09 PM

Similar to the Aral Sea,  the Tigris and Euphrates river basins have become drier and drier between 2003 and 2009. It is important to see all the aspects that have caused the rive to dry out and its do to there own people in this region. About 60 percent of the loss was attributed to the pumping of groundwater from underground reservoirs. Most of the problems are due to that about one-fifth of the water losses came from snowpack shrinking and soil drying up, partly in response to a 2007 drought. These could be some of the environmental issues but also there has been tremendous population increases in this region. This water is perfect drinking water for the people of South East Asia and the countries surrounding it but numbers are extremely high. 

It is important to analyze how us humans can change the geography of a certain area in such little time. 

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 4:19 PM

The middle east has lost a huge portion of its freshwater over the past decade. The two natural-color images above were acquired by the Landsat satellites and show the shrinking of the Qadisiyah Reservoir in Iraq between September 7, 2006 and September 15, 2009. The first graph shows the elevation of the water in that reservoir between January 2003 and December 2009. The second graph shows water storage from January 2003 to December 2009. Obtaining ground data information in the middle east can be difficult.The researchers calculated that about one-fifth of the water losses in their Tigris-Euphrates study region came from snowpack shrinking and soil drying up, partly in response to a 2007 drought.

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Tunneling through Andes to speed global trade

Tunneling through Andes to speed global trade | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — South American engineers are trying to tackle one of the continent's greatest natural challenges: the towering Andes mountain chain that creates a costly physical barrier for...

 

At the NCGE conference, noted author Harm De Blij mentioned a daring project that would link Eastern South America with the Pacific as engineers were planning to tunnel under the Andes mountains.  Here is a link to an article on this intermodal transportation project that would lower the shipping costs from East Asia to the Southern Atlantic.  Government officials in both Argentina and Brazil have described the  project as a matter of "national interest."  

 

Tags: transportation, LatinAmerica, globalization, industry, economic, development, unit 6 industry.


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This article expresses the need for better transportation in South America.  The need to bridge the Andes to better move trade goods from the pacific to Atlantic sides of the mountains.  This would have a huge effect on the economies of the two countries involved as well as an impact on international trade, just as the Panama Canal did when it was built.  The ability to cut through a mountain range and build a rail system is amazing and hopefully this vision of transportation can happen.

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Rachel Phillips's curator insight, May 7, 2015 12:54 PM

This is a great idea for a region that has the need to travel so much through such a tough area. Even if it will cost a lot of money to accomplish, in the long run it will save more than it costs to build.  This could change so much, and really boost their economies. Not only would it speed up shipping time and lower shipping costs, but it would allow more shipping to be done which means more business throughout the entire year as opposed to the situation now with snow getting in the way. Not only would it effect that aspect of the economy but it would also produce jobs for the time of the work being done, which is never a bad thing.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 1, 2015 8:19 AM

If this project can be accomplished, it would truly be one of the greatest engineering feats in human history. To build a railroad tunnel through the Andes mountains seems impossible, but in all likelihood with the right amount of funding, it can be done. The tunnel would have great economic benefits for both Brazil and Argentina. Goods from both countries could be shipped in both directions with out any issues. The larger world would also benefit from the train tunnel. It is estimated that the tunnel would lower the shipping costs from East Asia to the Southern Atlantic. The entire global trading market would benefit from this development.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 7, 2015 12:44 PM
Doing something such as this is a brilliant move in engineering. Making a tunnel through the Andes will connect countries together, make shipping much easier and doing so may cut the cost of goods being shipped and received. Just like the Panama Canal increased the cargo freight lining industry for shipping, this will also increase an industry for railways,.
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The true cost of oil

TED Talks What does environmental devastation actually look like? At TEDxVictoria, photographer Garth Lenz shares shocking photos of the Alberta Tar Sands mining project -- and the beautiful (and vital) ecosystems under threat.

 

This is a visually stunning portrayal of Canadian landscapes.   He shows incredibly gorgeous photographs of the ecosystems of the boreal forest, indigenous cultural landscapes and natural scenery.  This is unfortunately the backdrop for the impacts of industrial extraction of oil from the tar sands of the Athabasca in Canada.  Collectively, this makes for a jarring justaposition of environmental landscapes.


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This presentation is very moving on the emotional side of the plight of Canada’s natural resources.  When it comes to oil production no matter where it is it will be dirty, messy and fraught with problems that impact the environment.  The idea that everyone wants oil but they don’t want to mess up their own country to get it is an interesting problem.  Frankly the more developed countries like Canada are more likely to mine the resources responsibly then a country that has little or no environmental protections.  This speaker gives a very impassioned presentation but he offers no alternatives to oil.  Getting oil from a country that has environmental protection laws is cleaner and better then getting it from a country that cares nothing for the environment; it is less accountable and more environmentally damaging to get it from somewhere else.  Pipelines are cleaner ways of moving oil as they seldom leak and don’t crash and spill.  The debate over oil and environmental responsibility will continue until a viable source of clean energy is created. 

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Louis Mazza's curator insight, January 28, 2015 12:37 PM

this video shows the beauties to be found in world, and the negative effects that mining for oil can do to these areas. in one region it was home to a type of deer but all they could be found was the deers antlers. that showed that mining for oil was killing all the deer. all these regions are under threat. the largest toxic wastelands on the planet are being created.

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Maldives

Maldives | Geography 200 | Scoop.it

Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This island country has a strange duality that is not uncommon for poor countries with beautiful natural resources like sandy beaches.  On one hand, it is a place with resorts, which cater to wealthy tourists that are kept separated from the inhabitants of the islands.  On the other hand, they are a poor Muslim society that relies on fishing and tourism for its economic growth.  The precarious nature of their low islands leaves them open to flooding and tsunamis. 

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Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, December 14, 2015 8:54 PM

The creation of the Maldives was a evolutionary process that was created with hotspots in the Pacific Ocean. However most of the 1200 or so islands are disappearing. As many of these islands have been created and built upon, the soils are losing their strength. Now we have a process of erosion not only from rain but also from the sea waves. As this eats away at the islands they are getting smaller and smaller and unless they start bringing in artificial land area they will someday disappear.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 10:39 PM

The Maldives Islands were created by Hotspots in the Pacific Ocean. Many of the one thousand islands that are there are slowly disappearing. The islands are being destroyed by rain and from sea waves that crash onto the island itself. Soon the land, just like Kiribati will disappear because they just keep shrinking in size more and more. Their economy revolves mostly around tourist money and parts of the islands have been highly developed for high end tourist marketing.  

Nicholas A. Whitmore's curator insight, December 19, 2015 4:33 AM

Honestly a nation like the Maldives would only be possible with today's technology. the lack of resources, land and linking landmass would have made it stuck in an era with villages at best. The modern country if you ask me is also a disaster waiting to happen. Their cities are right on sea level. A single tsunami or storm would devastate them never mind rising sea levels. I just think they are acting unsustainable and their growth without lack of native resources will lead to their nations ultimate failure. While I wish these people success their islands are also eroding due to reefs so geography is pretty much against them at every turn. In the future hopefully a solution to these problems can be found but until then this will likely be an area that will have to be evacuated in the future like many others.

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Aral Sea Basin

Aral Sea Basin | Geography 200 | Scoop.it

"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.

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Jess Deady's curator insight, April 30, 2014 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.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 18, 2015 3:30 PM

Here is a question. Do you think perhaps in the future this could happen to lake Mead in Nevada/Arizona? With all the non-stop building and no rain perhaps one day could it run dry or do we have a way to stop it.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, December 1, 2015 7:17 PM

Once there is less water in a lake there is less water in the air therefore less rain. The long term consequences is that the fishing industry is destroyed where once upon a time there were 61000 workers and now there are under 2000. The water is more saltier. The lands are now ill suited and unbuildable. Also the people there are prone to health problems.

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NASA Satellites Find Freshwater Losses in Middle East

NASA Satellites Find Freshwater Losses in Middle East | Geography 200 | Scoop.it
A new study using data from a pair of gravity-measuring NASA satellites finds that large parts of the arid Middle East region lost freshwater reserves rapidly during the past decade.

 

"[This] data show an alarming rate of decrease in total water storage in the Tigris and Euphrates river basins, which currently have the second fastest rate of groundwater storage loss on Earth, after India," said Jay Famiglietti, principal investigator of the study and a hydrologist and professor at UC Irvine. "The rate was especially striking after the 2007 drought. Meanwhile, demand for freshwater continues to rise, and the region does not coordinate its water management because of different interpretations of international laws."

 

Tags: water, environment, consumption, resources, environment depend, Middle East, Iraq.


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

Water is a big issue in an arid area.  The fact that we can measure the amount of groundwater present in an area with a satellite is amazing to me.  The issue of water rights and control in this region will someday over take that of oil rights and use in my opinion.  Once people get used to free flowing water to use on demand it will cause problems politically when these sources of ground water inevitably dry up.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, February 24, 2013 10:00 PM

This is a perfect example of geospatial technologies can lead to a better understanding of how the Earth's physical systems are changing because of human geography.  Teaching geography is about showing how these systems are interconnected.   

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Sustainable Urbanism

"Jaime Lerner reinvented urban space in his native Curitiba, Brazil. Along the way, he changed the way city planners worldwide see what’s possible in the metropolitan landscape.  From building opera houses with wire to mapping the connection between the automobile and your mother-in-law, Jaime Lerner delights in discovering eccentric solutions to vexing urban problems. In the process he has transformed the face of cities worldwide."


Via Seth Dixon
Elizabeth Bitgood's insight:

This video is enlightening.  The speaker uses the city as a model for fixing problems in the world.  Instead of seeing the city as an enemy to environmentalism, he purposes changing the cities and reworking old sites like quarries into something that is useable today.  He also advocates the integration of the transportation systems to make commuting more feasible as well as less pollution generating. 

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, February 15, 2014 8:02 AM

Jaime Lerner does not see cities as the problem; he sees urbanism as the solution to many global problems.  This video outlines practical plans to rethink the city to be more sustainable.  Click here to see the trailer for a documentary about the urban changes in Curitiba, Brazil.