The Bio DaVersity Code

The video

Animals featured:

  • Polar bear
  • Bull
  • Platypus
  • Penguin
  • Fish (minnow)
  • Cone snail
  • Tree frog
  • Panda
  • Butterfly
  • Mouse/Rat
  • Bird
  • Seal
  • Human

These animals actually reflect the ecological issues faced now.

  1. The bull, mouse and bird are invasive species.
  2. The polar bear and panda are well-known endangered animals.
  3. The polar bear also symbolizes global warming.
  4. Many kinds of fish are overfished.
  5. The tree frog represents deforestation of rainforests.
  6. The butterfly takes part in crop pollination and the cone snail can lead to medical breakthroughs. However, they face extinction.

Ecological issues raised:

Humans are causing:

  • Extinctions at 100-1000 times the normal rate
  • Over-harvesting of species to the point of extinction (e.g. overfishing of cod)
  • Destruction of habitats
  • Increased release of greenhouse gases which cause global warming
  • Introduction of invasive species which kill off native species

Implications

–> disease control

The natural predators of disease-carrying organisms (e.g. mosquitoes) are killed off. These organisms can then multiply and cause epidemics.

–> medical breakthroughs

Organisms such as the cone snail can lead to the discovery of hundreds of new drugs to cure diseases more effectively. However, they may be extinct before the drugs can be discovered.

–> crop pollination

Organisms (e.g. bees) are the main pollinators of many flowering plants throughout the world. If they are extinct, these producers will be unable to reproduce and face extinction as well, leading to the collapse of the entire food web.

So, do not mess with the web of life!

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Introduction to Ecology – predation

Walkingstick predation

Simulation: Fossweb.com >>Populations and Ecosystems

Results of experiment

Level 1 – Eat insects

Observations:

  • The brown walkingsticks were the easiest to find
  • The green-brown walkingsticks were the hardest to find

When there was a time limit on feeding:

  • The brown walkingsticks survived worst
  • The green-brown walkingsticks survived best

Possible Reasons:

  • The green and green-brown walkingsticks were able to blend into the bush environment due to their similar body colouring.
  • The brown walkingsticks were least able to blend into the environment as they had¬†contrasting body colouring.
  • ¬†Due to time constraint, predators ate the walkingsticks that they could notice most easily, i.e. the brown walkingsticks

Level 2 – Eat insects in 3 different environments

30 seconds

Bush environment

 

Wood chips

Bamboo leaves

 

30 clicks

Bush environment

Wood chips

Bamboo leaves

Adaptations:

The walkingsticks with the colour traits that did not blend into the environment died out quickly, while the number of walkingsticks with colour traits that blended into the environment gradually increased. This shows that as time passed, the walkingsticks adapted their body colour to suit the environment they lived in.