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Animal ecology –  is an important subject of research for scientists. They study how these animals related to each other and how they related to their surroundings. There are numerous kinds of animal ecology. This includes: Population ecology, the study of the effects on the animals’ population Behavioral ecology, the study of the Behaviour of […]

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Tripplanning

Ecological Planning – is the way of recognizing the impact of environments and processes and using this information to discover solutions to incorporate human habitation appropriately. To be able to benefit both Ecological Planning’s outcome is to merge habitation. Ecological Planning’s notion has existed since the 1600’s but came due to greater awareness of side […]

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Ecological Relationships

Studies Show Climate-Induced Reorganization of Food Web, Happening Across the Globe

Warmer than average temperatures are causing generalist species with preference for colder habitats, to move and redistribute in groups toward the poles. As a result, their movement toward new ecosystems is changing the flow of energy and carbon as they connect to existing food webs; whilst altering the natural feeding behaviors in a particular ecosystem.

When ecosystems are altered, food connections are rewired. Rewiring transpires when species navigating across landscapes in search of abundant sources of food, rapidly respond by shifting habitats. Through their relative use of different sources of energy, their foraging behavior causes a rewiring of the links connecting different feeding behaviors that exist in an ecosystem.

University of Guelph Conducts Studies on Changing Behavior of Generalist Species in Lake Ontario

Researchers at the University of Guelph in Canada, led by Tim Bartley, of the Department of Integrative Biology, together with biology professors Andrew McDougall and Kevin McCann, conducted studies by monitoring generalist species. The results of their studies were published in the Nature Ecology and Evolution journal, to which they recommend harnessing the natural ability of species to detect and react to the changes happening in their natural habitats.

Over the past decade, the team of UG researchers monitored how lake trout, a generalist species, has been forced to move into deeper waters to forage. The movement was in response to warmer lake temperatures. As a generalist species, lake trouts can survive in different conditions and feed on a variety of prey species. Climate-induced movement and feeding behaviors of the lake trout, manifested changes in the flow of energy and use of nutrients in the lake; causing a rewiring of the existing food web.

Tim Bartley went as far as analyzing the tissues of lake trouts to identify its new prey species and the locations of new resource. Lake trouts are known to be flexible feeders and may feed on other fish species. Although the UG researchers were unable to establish the identity of the prey species, the tissue analysis showed that lake trouts feed mostly on herrings. The analysis suggests that herrings had likewise moved to the deeper parts of the lake.

Based on their monitoring of the altered behavior of lake trouts, the UG researchers concluded that keeping track of behavioural changes in generalist species can serve as early warning system. The significance of such system will prove useful to humans who depend on the resources provided by the ecosystem for subsistence.

Studies of Bolivia Earthquakes Reveal Mountains Located 660 Kms Below Earth’s Surface

Geophysicists conducted studies of the shockwaves that hit Bolivia in 2018, led to the discovery of a complex terrain of mountain ranges. Using a network of powerful computer-aided seismic instruments, geophysicists Jessica Irving of Princeton University and Wenbo Wu, currently a researcher at California Institute of Technology and seismologist Sidao Ni, published their findings in “Science.” The research was actually a joint project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the University of Science and Technology in China, and Princeton University in New Jersey, US.

The most recent earthquake in Bolivia took place in April 2018, which thankfully did not result to casualties, had measured 6.8 in the richter scale at a depth of 562 kilometers. The earthquake sent waves across the region including Bolivia’s capital city, San Salvador, which caused alarm to many residents. In studying the most powerful waves produced by the massive earthquake, the geophysicists were able to unravel a new topography suggestive of mountain ranges, posing as composition of the layer separating the upper and lower mantle. They tentatively call the layer as the “660-km Boundary.”

New Findings Establishes the Transition Zone as a Range of Mountainous Landforms

The exact composition of Earth’s inner layers has long been a debatable issue among scientists. Traditionally, the layer between the upper and lower mantle about 660 kilometers beneath the Earth’s surface, is referred as the Transition Zone.

The zone is said to have occurred as a result of minerals (olivine) forming thicker structures of crystal minerals, which when converted reflected between the upper and lower mantle. Those previous findings was deducted from studies of a body of waves generated by earthquakes, which based on mineral physics are dependent on phase-changes related to temperature, density and depth.

The new findings gathered by geophysicists Irving, Wu and Ni, revealed that the Transition Zone they now call as the “660 KM Boundary,” possesses stronger topography than those of Rocky Mountains or the Himalayas. The geophysicists also noted that the zone had smoother areas suggestive of similar topography found in mountain ranges and abyssal plains.

Wildfire Impact in an Imbalanced Ecosystem

Nearly all studies conducted about wildfire, indicate that the Earth is basically susceptible to wildfire occurrences.

Where vegetation such as grasses, brush, trees and homes pose as flammable materials, the presence of oxygen in the air plus the intense heat of the sun, can all combine and start an uncontrollable wildfire. In 2018, intense scorching heat waves engulfed many parts of Europe, causing the decade’s worst natural wildfire disaster to spread in Greece, Sweden and Latvia.

The California wildfire tragedy in November 2018, is touted as the most devastating in the state’s history. Although investigations have yet to determine the actual cause, a common observation among firefighters is that the wildfire was made much worse by the effects of global warming.

Still, despite the occurrence of such phenomenon, recent global studies show that between 84% and 90% of wildfires that transpired worldwide, were caused by humans. Aside from decimating natural resource and private properties, destroying human lives, as well as creating adverse economic and social impact, the aftermath of wildfires has enduring effects not visible to the naked eye.

Burned Forest Soils Take as Many as 80 Years to Fully Recover

Based on an important study recently conducted by the Australian National University, burned forest soils will take as many as 80 years to recover. The findings is contrary to common previous perceptions that soil recovery will take place after 10 to 15 years.

Regardless of what or who caused a wildfire, the enduring ill-effects of soil burned by overly intense heat will greatly affect the functions of the ecosystem, particularly those that largely depend on plant communities.

Professor David Lindenmayer of the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society, and also a member of the research team said that not even scientists knew for how long forest soils are affected after a wildfire.

“We thought forests could recover within 10 or 15 years, at most, after these sorts of events.”

According to the ANU report, raging wildfires can bring soil temperatures beyond 500 degrees Celsius, likely resulting to depletion of vital soil nutrients. If the area has been previously disturbed by logging activities, the degradation of soil nutrients by wildfires will be more severe.

In light of such findings, the ANU research stressed the importance of including such effects in carrying out land management initiatives and in formulating related policies aimed at reducing, if not preventing wildfires and logging disturbances.

Ecological Relationships

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