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ZOO507 Principles of Animal Ecology GDB Fall 2020 Solution / Discussion

ZOO507 GDB Fall 2020 solution idea:



The term biodiversity refers to the variety of life on Earth at all its levels, from genes to ecosystems, and can encompass the evolutionary, ecological, and cultural processes that sustain life.

Major Threats To Biodiversity

Climate Change. Changes in climate throughout our planet's history have, of course, altered life on Earth in the long run — ecosystems have come and gone and species routinely go extinct.

Habitat Loss and Degradation: Habitat loss refers to changes in the environment that result to the rendering of a specific habitat to be functionally valuable. The habitat can no longer accommodate and support the life of the organisms present, thereby declining their population.

  • Habitat loss may either be caused by natural events like natural calamities and geological events or anthropogenic activities like deforestation and man-induced climate change.
  • In the process of habitat degradation, the organisms that were once living in a particular area or region are displaced and are forced to relocate; thus resulting in biodiversity reduction.

 Pollution. From the burning of fossil fuels (releasing dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere and, in some cases, depleting ozone levels) to dumping 19 billion pounds of plastic into the ocean every year, pollution completely disrupts the Earth's ecosystems. While it may not necessarily cause extinction, pollutants do have the potential to influents species' habits.

For example, acid rain, which is typically caused by the burning of fossil fuels, can acidify smaller bodies of water and soil, negatively affecting the species that live there by changing breeding and feeding habits

Invasive Species. The introduction of non-native species into an ecosystem can threaten endemic wildlife (either as predators or competing for resources), affect human health and upset economies.

Over exploitation. Overhunting, overfishing and over-harvesting contribute greatly to the loss of biodiversity, killing off numerous species over the past several hundred years. Poaching and other forms of hunting for profit increase the risk of extinction; the extinction of an apex predator or, a predator at the top of a food chain can result in catastrophic consequences for ecosystems.

Other Potential Threats:  Aside from the five aforementioned threats, there are still a lot of drivers that may either directly or indirectly contribute to the loss of biodiversity. One good example of this are the epidemics and infectious diseases of wildlife such as Ebola virus disease, infectious bursal disease, and flu. This phenomenon does not only affect wildlife but also human health as well.

  • Aside from this, human-induced activities which include economic, technological and scientific, cultural, and demographic factors also have an impact on biodiversity. The desiccation of wetlands and soils owing to the excessive pumping of water tables oftentimes contributes to the death of organisms living in these environments.
  • The overuse of natural parks and watershed as tourist destinations and recreational spots also threatens biodiversity due to the fact that humans cause too much noise and perturbations that disrupt the animals’ normal activities.

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