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Habitat Destruction, Introduced Species, and Overexploitation
Transcript of Habitat Destruction, Introduced Species, and Overexploitation
What is the Issue?
What is the science behind the issue?
Two Examples of the Impact
Two Possible Solutions
What's the issue?
The introduction of non-native species to
an ecosystem upsets the balance between native species in the ecosystem, often leading to dramatic changes in the ecosystem.
What's the science behind the issue?
In a natural community, species evolve together into an ecosystem with many checks and balances that limit the population growth of any one species.
ex. predators, herbivores, diseases, parasites, other organisms competing for the same resources and limiting environmental factors.
These checks and balances form the complex web of life that makes up an ecosystem and in which a native species competes for survival.
When an organism is introduced into an ecosystem in which it did not evolve naturally, it no longer has those limits and its numbers can sometimes dramatically increase.
The rapid reproduction, and superior competitive ability of invasive species can lead to the displacement of native competitors, or the loss of biodiversity in affected areas.
Invasive species examples
Zebra mussels are an invasive species first introduced to North America in 1988 from their native lakes in southern Russia. They reproduce very quickly, and out-compete native species for space, nutrients, dissolved oxygen. Zebra mussels also clog waterways, and pipes, and cost a significant amount of money to repair the structures
Cane toads were introduced to Australia from Hawaii in 1935 as an attempt to limit the amount of cane beetles, which
killed sugar cane plants, which were a major part of the Australian economy. The sugar cane toad's population, with no natural predators, exploded, and colonized much of Australia. The ecological consequences of this were the depletion of native species that die eating cane toads, the poisoning of pets and humans, depletion of native fauna preyed on by cane toads, and reduced prey populations for native insectivores.
Two possible solutions
Careful restrictions on transportation codes we can limit the movement of potentially invasive species into new ecosystems.
the increased hunting and harvesting of invasive species
The work of an invasive species
Identify the Issue
Overexploitation normally refers to humans harvesting wild plants or
animals at rates exceeding the ability of populations of those species to
rebound. This can cause endangerment of certain species, such as rare trees, the
produce valuable or other goods. Normally species with restricted
habitats are affected the most.
Explain the Science behind this issue.
This problem is a result of harvesters removing plants from the environment
before they reproduce, resulting in lack of increase of population. Harvesters
remove potential reproducers that would increase the population, if the time was
provided. The rate of harvest isn't provided the time needed, resulting in the eventual decrease of population and sometimes even extinction
Describe two possible solutions or ways to mitigate the problems
A solution to the overexploitation of Blue Fin Tuna has already taken place. This currently rare fish used
to be fished for often and sold for a few cents per pound. Nowadays, this fish can sell for more than $100 per
pound. This is because the fish was being overexploited and the population was significantly decreasing at a
rapid rate. This solution of steeply raising prices was and is very effective in controlling the population of Blue Fin
A solution to over harvesting, which is used in some parts of the world, is to use chemicals or fertilizers to increase the
rate of growth of plants, thus keeping the population sufficient enough to keep up with demanding harvests. While this
idea may introduce other issues involving controversy of whether or not to use chemicals, it would
nonetheless reduce the overexploitation problem of plants and crops during harvests.
Give two specific examples
Blue Fin Tuna
Over-harvesting of crops plants
Habitat destruction is the process in which natural habitat is rendered functionally unable
to support the species present. In this process, the organisms that previously used the site are
displaced or destroyed, reducing biodiversity.
• Human alteration of habitat is the single greatest threat to biodiversity throughout the biosphere.
• Massive destruction of habitats has been brought about by agriculture, urban development, forestry, mining, and pollution.
• When no alternative habitat is available or a species is unable to move, habitat loss
may mean extinction of the species.
Habitat fragmentation is a form of habitat destruction, in which natural landscapesare broken
up into small patches.
• Habitat fragmentation leads to species loss, since the smaller populations in habitat fragments have a higher probability of local extinction. The probability of local extinction is high for 2 reasons. The first is that competition increases due to limited resources. The second is that smaller populations lead to higher rates of inbreeding. Increased inbreeding results in a decrease in genetic variation and an increase in the expression of recessive alleles.
• Aquatic habitat destruction and species loss also result from dams, reservoirs, channel modifications, and flow regulation.
One example of habitat destruction is deforestation. Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where
the land is thereafter converted to a non-forest use.
• Deforestation has a huge impact on the different species of organisms that live in forests. Many species that are not able to leave their habitat when it is being destroyed become endangered or even extinct. One region of the world where deforestation is common and has had an enormous impact is Brazil. In 2005 Brazil had the largest area of forest removed annually. The effects of deforestation include climate change and an increase in the number of endangered and extinct species.
• Another example of habitat destruction is pollution of water. One major cause of water pollution is oil spills. Oil spills, such as the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, have extremely harmful effects on marine animals and the ecosystems that they live in. As a result of the BP oil spill, many species of fish began to have deformities. Other effects include heart problems, death of coral, and a general increase in the death of offspring.
A certain amount of habitat destruction is required to further the development of
urban areas. The destruction of these habitats does, however, have clear consequences. It is
important to find the balance between preserving these habitats and developing large cities.
The prohibition of human activity in certain wildlife areas will help to prevent the extinction of
• Another possible solution is the use of renewable energy. The decrease in the use of petroleum would limit the number of oil spills that occur, as well as the number of oil wells that are drilled.
By Avinash Thalasila
Vishvajit Mohan, Viraj Sampat,
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