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Old 02-05-2011, 08:25 AM   #1
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earth1 Biodiversity and airplane rivets

Wildlife Extra News - No joy in discovery of 408 new mammal species since 1993 - just a warning for humanity

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An airplane wing has a certain amount of redundancy in its design, as does much of nature. So you can pop off some of the rivets and the wing will still hold together and the plane will still fly. But at some point, you'll have removed one too many rivets and the plane will crash.
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"Our analysis indicates how much more varied biodiversity is than we thought and how much bigger our conservation problems are if we're going to maintain the life-support services that we need from biodiversity," Ehrlich said.
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Old 02-06-2011, 07:52 PM   #2
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Have you ever played the game Jenga?
All the pieces are stacked and you have to carefully remove a piece over and over each turn until the stack becomes unstable and collapses.
Even before the collapse there are holes that appear throughout the structure leaving it more and more vulnerable to disturbance.
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Old 02-06-2011, 10:24 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Gloria View Post
Have you ever played the game Jenga?
All the pieces are stacked and you have to carefully remove a piece over and over each turn until the stack becomes unstable and collapses.
Even before the collapse there are holes that appear throughout the structure leaving it more and more vulnerable to disturbance.
I have wanted to create a teaching tool with Jenga--showing how so many things are interconnected within the environment. I may have mentioned it here before on another thread.

I'd like to create something with each piece labeled as various organisms and other things that are essential to life--such as clean water, shelter/habitat...and show how it all collapses--I'd like to keep humans on the top some how and see that even we would topple. Now, I'm starting to envision filming this and putting it up on Youtube--not sure I'll ever do it though.
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:01 AM   #4
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Just knowing what all the pieces are and the functions each perform is hard. Species not only adapt to an ecosystem but also alter the system to their own needs.

If your awake and feel like reading here is some information on biodiversity and ecosystem function.

Ecosystems and Biodiversity | Climate Change - Health and Environmental Effects | U.S. EPA
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An ecosystem is an interdependent, functioning system of plants, animals and microorganisms. An ecosystem can be as large as the Mojave Desert, or as small as a local pond. Without the support of the other organisms within their own ecosystem, life forms would not survive, much less thrive. Such support requires that predators and prey, fire and water, food and shelter, clean air and open space remain in balance with each other and with the environment around them.
http://www.epa.gov/owow/watershed/wa...pdf/issue4.pdf

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Our review of the available evidence has identified the following certainties concerning biodiversity and ecosystem functioning:
Human impacts on global biodiversity have been dramatic, resulting in unprecedented losses in global biodiversity at all levels, from genes and species to entire ecosystems;
Local declines in biodiversity are even more dramatic than global declines, and the beneficial effects of many organisms on local processes are lost long before the species become globally extinct;
Many ecosystem processes are sensitive to declines in biodiversity;
Changes in the identity and abundance of species in an ecosystem can be as important as changes in biodiversity in influencing ecosystem processes.
From current research, we have identified the following impacts on ecosystem functioning that often result from loss of biodiversity:
Plant production may decline as regional and local diversity declines;
Ecosystem resistance to environmental perturbations, such as drought, may be lessened as biodiversity is reduced;
Ecosystem processes such as soil nitrogen levels, water use, plant productivity, and pest and disease cycles may become more variable as diversity declines.
Given its importance to human welfare, the maintenance of ecosystem functioning should be included as an integral part of national and international policies designed to conserve local and global biodiversity
Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning:
Maintaining Natural Life Support Processes
Shahid Naeem, Chair, F.S. Chapin III, Robert Costanza, Paul R. Ehrlich, Frank B. Golley, David U. Hooper,
J.H. Lawton, Robert V. O’Neill, Harold A. Mooney, Osvaldo E. Sala, Amy J. Symstad, and David Tilman

http://www.eolss.net/ebooks/Sample%20Chapters/C09/E4-27-02-01.pdf

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First, declining species richness can lead to declines in overall levels of ecosystem functioning. This is especially pronounced at lower levels of diversity. This finding is particularly relevant to current ecological change, since most ecosystems are being transformed into managed systems which typically contain only a few dominant species, whereas the natural ecosystems they replaced typically contained tens to hundreds of species.
Second, at least one species per functional group is essential to ecosystem functioning. Having more than one species per functional group may or may not alter overall levels of ecosystem functioning, but it may nevertheless insure against loss of functioning in times of disturbance if species within functional groups are able to replace or compensate for one another.
Third, the nature of an ecosystems response to declining biodiversity is dependent on community composition, that is, on which species are lost and which remain.
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