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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/
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.
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... Part I, island biogeography in a World Regional context..
....Part II, why island biogeography matters in places that aren't on islands.
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.
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.
"Hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking', is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside."
This website, Dangers of Fracking, is clearly not produced by the oil industry. What I enjoy about this resource is that as you scroll down, it adds more context to the environmental issues and geographic factors. This type of website promotes holistic thinking and an interdisciplinary approach to complex problems. Why am I leery of the fracking companies and what they say? This is why.
Tags: energy, resources, environment, environment modify, ecology.
"Dust blows from what was once the Aral Sea floor. Tragic mismanagement of a natural resource."
The collapse of the Aral Sea ecosystem is (arguably) the worst man-made environmental disaster of the 20th century and 21st century has seen the continuation of the desertification set in motion. Soviet mismanagement, water-intensive cotton production and population growth have all contributed the overtaxing of water resources in the Aral Sea basin, which has resulted in a the shrinking of the Aral Sea--it has lost more of the sea to an expanding desert than the territories of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg combined. The health problems arising from this issues are large for the entire Aral Sea basin, which encompasses 5 Central Asian countries and it has profoundly changed (for the worse) the local climates. Compare the differences with some historical images of the Aral Sea on Google Earth or on ArcGIS Online (also see this article from GeoCurrents)
Tags: environment, Central Asia, environment modify.
This image taken from the International Space Station is just one of hundreds taken by @Cmdr_Hadfield that can be used in the geography classroom. See image gallery http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/default.asp
Tags: pollution, infographic, ecology.
What do you think about these images?Do you you agree?or not?
really interesting infograph please have a look on it, will warn and make you think about the pollution that plastic bags cause.
PULL a spring, let it go, and it will snap back into shape. Pull it further and yet further and it will go on springing back until, quite suddenly, it won't....
This is an interesting article discussing the limits that the Earth's physical systems have and the importance not exceeding any tipping point that could destabilize the planet if we "overstrech the springs."
A useful discussion on limits of the planet
An interesting counter-balance to the work of the Planetary Boundaries group.
10 ways to go green this holiday season. Zero Waste holiday tips from Eco-Cycle.
This infographic combined with these recommendations are some simple reminders that mass consumption and waste does not contribute to global joy or cheer.
beautiful, as Susan
The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History is a fabulous resource in Washington D.C., but now this museum available virtually. Teachers can now bring the museums to the classroom with these fantastic Smithsonian virtual tours.
Tags: biogeography, virtual tours, environment, ecology, historical, physical.
According to a study published in the June 2003 issue of "Conservation Biology," there are 561 known butterfly species in the U.S. and Canada.
"Not only are these insects beautiful, they're important pollinators and vital to the health of their natural habitats. You can encourage these gentle creatures to visit your yard by using easy-to-make butterfly food and feeders."
Water scarcity's effect on food production means radical steps will be needed to feed population expected to reach 9bn by 2050...
This article represents a good example of neo-Malthusian ideas concerning population growth and food production. The recent drought and subsequent food shortage/spike in global food prices has renewed interest in these ideas.
From this article I can tell that the lack of water is getting more and more out of hand, affecting our food supply. It will not be a surprise for humans to become vegetarians as the lack of meat is apparent. Having a vegetarian diet is the only way for us human to have enough water for our own consumption. , I think it is not that bad to be a vegetarian, after all vegetarian leads a healthier lifestyle compared to people who always eat meat. Vegetables are good for our health after all. This makes me wonder, considering our lack of water and food supply, what will happen if people refuse to co-operate? And continues to waste resources, will we really be the cause of our own extinction?
What did the Delta look like 200 years ago? See an interactive map of the historical habitat and present day landscape, as well as the old photos, maps and journals used by historical ecologists to answer that question.
This interactive module has over 20 different maps and perspectives to show both the physical and human geography of a particular environment. As the delta's ecosystem has been failing, the importance of understanding the interconnections between people, places and our environment becomes all the more critical.
"The photograph is real, no photoshop, no digital manipulation, no nothing, in fact it was shot on slide film Fuji Provia 100 using a Nikon F5 Camera and 17-35 mm lens. For those conspiracy fans who still doubt its authenticity please read how I took the photograph." --The true story by Thomas P. Peschak
In the lush rainforests of Africa's Congo Basin, hundreds of thousands of indigenous people live as hunter gatherers, depending on the forest's natural resources for their survival.
The "Mapping for Rights" program trains people in the Congo to map the land they live on using GPS and other geospatial technologies. This can assist the to produce documents to politically protect their land from encroachment and preserve their access to the forest. Globalization can blur many of the modern/traditional narratives as the world becomes interconnected in complex ways.
The cover package of this week's TIME—which should still be on newsstands—detailed the 10 ideas that are changing your life. What kind of ideas, you ask?
"Welcome to the Anthropocene. It’s a new geological epoch, one where the planet is shaped less by natural forces then by the combined activity, aspirations—and emissions—of more than 7 billion human beings." Humanity's technological advancements and impact on the Earth's planetary systems is significant enough that many scientists agree that it has fundamental shifted the geologic paradigm.
This paper-puppet animation celebrates the life of Alfred Russel Wallace, who is co-credited with Charles Darwin for the theory of natural selection. Read the story here: http://nyti.ms/1fhBbGw
Some of the greatest discoveries in biology began as spatial discoveries. Alfred Russel Wallace made some amazing advances in biogeography and discovered the appropriately named Wallace Line.
Tags: biogeography, environment, ecology, historical.
This is a project sponsored by OCEARCH (Ocean Reseach) that helps to track the journeys of individual sharks to better understand their migratory patterns. This data also helps to establish maps of the spatial extend of Shark habitat. This is in essence another fantastic practical application of GPS technology.
Tags: biogeography, mapping, GPS.
De-extinction is a new term for to me but this week a TEDx conference hosted by National Geographic focused completely on this concept on the possibility of reviving formerly extinct species. Just because we think we can bring back a lost species, does that mean we should? What would be the benefits? Disadvantages?
I've read enough about passenger pigeons to know that beyond overhunting, the species went extinct as large swaths of North American forests became fragmented and modified. While we may be able to theoretically bring back a species, we cannot rewind the clock and bring all the essential ingredients to their former ecosystem that allowed them to thrive in the first place. De-extinction would NOT be repairing the world so that it was as if the extinction never happened, since other species in the ecosystem have adapted to their absence. Given the length of their absence, could these be considered "invasive species?"
Tags: biogeography, environment, National Geographic, environment modify, ecology, historical, TED.
App-ly Yourself to Tackle Today's Scientific Challenges
The United States Geologic Survey (USGS) scientists are encouraging app developers and earth scientists to design creative apps that will aid researchers in tackling the important questions. USGS datasets include biogeographical, vegetation and land cover change data. Submissions will be judged on their relevance to today’s scientific challenges, innovative use of the datasets, and overall ease of use of the application. Prizes will be awarded to the best overall app, the best student app, and the people’s choice. Do you have an idea?
Tags: physical, ecology, visualization, biogeography, edtech.
Jeffrey Gettleman, The Times’s Nairobi bureau chief, reports on how Kenya’s wildlife conservation corps is learning from a reformed poacher how to counter the growing threat to elephants.
In Somalia, former pirates are helping to patrol the coasts to prevent piracy. This idea of reforming and recruiting past criminals is also seen in Kenya as former poachers are trying to protect elephants that are essential to the local ecology as well as the tourism-driven economy. In addition to the attached video is this article which expands on these issues.
Tags: biogeography, tourism, Africa, consumption, resources, ecology, Kenya.
In an impoverished country, elephant poaching is a quick way to make big money. A pair of poachers explain how they track and kill elephants in one of Africa's top game reserves.
The illegal sale of ivory in places such as Asia drive the elephant poachers to prey on Elephants in protected game reserves and national parks. The Selous Game Reserve is larger than Switzerland and yet they only have 10 rangers to protect and patrol the wildlife.
Tags: biogeography, poverty, globalization, Africa, consumption, resources, ecology, podcast.
Our modern society depends on greater connectivity between places. Regionalized economies, politics and transportation networks are increasingly integrated with far-flung places now more than ever before. Our biosphere and natural environments are exceptions to this pattern. Wilderness areas are 'islands' in an ocean of human controlled environments. We create transportation linkages that unite people economies and cities, but separate herds from there extended habitat.
We've all seen road kill on major highways. Species like deer, elk, and grizzly bears and other large-bodied animals need a wide range for numerous ecological reasons. These bridges are an attempt to ameliorate some of the problems that our roads pose for the non-human species that still call Earth home. From a purely economic standpoint, many argue that these bridges save society money given the accidents and property damage that can be avoided.
UPDATE: This is a hilarious/painful video of a woman who clearly doesn't understand these principles.
Tags: biogeography, transportation, environment, land use, sustainability, environment adapt.
Since Katrina, the cartoonish pace of vegetation growth in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans resembles something out of a Chia Pet commercial.
The ecosystem is reclaiming parts of New Orleans that have been physically or economically abandoned. This is part elevation, climate and ecosystem; but it is also about urban land uses, disinvestment and socioeconomics.
Tags: urban ecology, environment, ecology, urban, unit 7 cities, disasters, land use.
TED Talks 400 years after Hudson found New York harbor, Eric Sanderson shares how he made a 3D map of Mannahatta's fascinating pre-city ecology of hills, rivers, wildlife -- accurate down to the block -- when Times Square was a wetland and you...
KC: The Manhattan Project created a picture of the area before the development of a city, the way Henry Hudson did during his 1609 exploration. After 10 years (1999-2009), the research project has expanded to study the entire city of New York. The Welikia Project analyzes geography and landscape ecology to discover the original environment and compare it to present day. Scientists have learned that world's largest cities once had a natural landscape of freshwater wetlands and salt marshes, ponds and streams, forests and fields with an equally diverse wildlife community. By focusing on the city's biodiversity of 400 years ago and the modern era, information can be gathered about what has changed, what has remained constant, where the city was done well and where it needs to improve. This source is useful because it allows for the visualization of NYC in a way never seen before. Urban environments, such as NYC, have a landscape largely created by humans, so the skyscrapers, pavement, and mass population is far removed from the landscape it once was.
Find more information about the Welikia Project and more on New York City's urban ecology on this scoop.it topic.
By bringing together all types of information about species distributions, providing model-based integration, and providing a system for users to build upon our knowledge, the Map of Life project hopes to support our community in understanding and...
This site stores an online database of the spatial distribution of over 25,000 species, and with GIS layer tools, allows users to map biogeographical patterns. If you want to teach geography in collaboration with a biology project, this is the perfect tool. For a press release about the project funded by Yale, UC Boulder, NASA, WWF and others, see: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/16/filling-in-the-blanks-on-a-map-of-life/ ;
Venice, by virtue of its geographic situation will always be sinking as a course of nature. A research team from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the UCSD has recently concluded that Venice is sinking 2 millimeters per year...not catastrophic on a single year basis, but threatens the long-term viability and sustainability of the location.
Urban ecology: what economic forces created the rationale for building Venice? What environmental factors are currently threatening it? Will economic or environmental forces win out? Location: do the economic advantages of a location outweigh the environmental liabilities of the location? How do these competing factors influence the development of a city? For additional information on this story see: http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-03-venice-hasnt.html
The famous city in Italy is sinking, and quickly. It seems that the transient opportunities of a transient town are like that of other areas exposed to natural inclemence- such as New Orleans, and earthquake zones. Sooner or later, places that are exposed to disaster will become inhabitable, and possibly abandoned. When I hear of this city sinking, it makes me think of the Titanic, and how people should likely jump ship out of this situation, before the whole city 'goes under.' I also think of marshy areas that would not be well-suited for development and inhabitance, and it seems that there is a history in the town that united people to live there in spite of the abundance of water. Some of my ancestors were from Italy, and I wouldn't want harm to come to their homeland, but it really makes me wonder why they chose such a place to live... It seems likely to me that the mere fact that it was sinking was not really considered much back then; they were not as realistically concerned about the longevity of the city in the long run, than they were about the 'now' and the time at hand. This reflects many facets of humanity and the hedonistic lifestyles that accompany many humans. Humans that live for today and forget about tomorrow are doomed to live a life of sorry. Humans that live for tomorrow and not today are out of touch and fail to seize the day. Humans that live for today but remember tomorrow are the masons that build stairways to new lands for their descendents, and along with that, myriad new possibilities for positive opportunities. I think some of the wisdom of Italy was put into its architecture and structural design, so that we might remember- we are dying in this life, just as Venice sinks, but we should live life as best as we can, and pave the way for future generations. Like so, the dumping of wastes into the ocean seems tiny at first, but accumulates over many generations and will leave many ocean species dead, and harm the overall functionality of the Earth as a whole. Let Venice be a reminder.
So not only is Mexico City sinking, but Venice is as well, and five times faster than we thought at that. If the heart of an urban, sprawling city becomes completely destroyed what changes will be made to the outlying areas? Will they break up into multiple, smaller districts each with a central area? Where will the rich who used to reside in the heart move to?
Day to day, even looking into next year the rate of 2 millimeters per year may not seem drastic. To a city that has been around for hundreds of years, it's assumed the city plans to stay standing for hundreds more. Considering the age of the city, say in a couple hundred more years, some buildings could begin to take in water. It is also possible that certain parts of the city could be sinking faster than others. There is a similar situation in Mexico City where it was built on a lake and each year that source diminishes due to the demand of water by its residents. Certain parts of the city are sinking and some buildings are slanted due to the results. These cities are beautiful but reality shows that as time passes, it will probably only get worse. Hopefully preventions can be taken to at least reduce the speed of sinking so that people after us can appreciate the architecture and atmosphere the city has provided all these years.
As follow-up to an earlier post about how we have enter the age of the Anthropocene, this stunning map is a fantastic visual representation of the forces that merit the dawning of a new geologic age. This map depicts the lights at night, major roads, railways power lines, oversea cables, airline routes and shipping lanes. It also expands the areas according to population size. For more on the production of this map, see the Globaia website: http://globaia.org/en/anthropocene/
Spotted on Living Geography: http://livinggeography.blogspot.com/2012/03/new-map-of-anthropocene.html