Free Essay About Biodiversity, Climate Change And How It Affects Organisms
Human activity and adverse weather conditions are a major reason some animal and plant species may become extinct. Some if these human activities include hunting down some of these animals for food or monetary value and even intruding nad occupying their natural habitat. Some animals such as the African elephant or the loggerhead sea turtle are among those animals that may end up extinct in the near future if their habitat is not protected. An Africa elephant, for example, is large and weighs on average 5500 kilograms at maturity; its rate of maturity is slow because it takes on average ten years to reach reproductive age and that makes it a perfect definition for k- selection (). Their reproductive rate is slow and they carry a pregnancy for twenty two months (almost two years); they are large and have a long lifespan of thirty three years on average (Wiens 7). They have low offspring mortality, limited offspring dispersal and also live in mature undisturbed habitat. But man in the realm of nature has affected the survival of many organisms including the elephant. Human labor has transformed how elephants survive. They are a target of poachers in Africa and Asia because of their precious tusks because research shows that at least two elephants die every day in sub-Saharan Africa (Orenstein 116). The more man desires their tusks, the more endangered they become and most probably will be extinct in the next half a century.
Extreme climatic changed do affect the environment and the ecosystem in very many ways. For example, Isaac states that when the climate that was cool starts becoming warm, some organisms that live there may start migrating to high altitude areas that are cooler and that conducive to their survival, (116). When species are restricted to a certain environment, they are likely to survive only in that environment and in the event that they are pushed out of it, they may become extinct. Humans have a tendency of encroaching on animal habitats considering that land is becoming less. That has happened in some places such as the Maasai Mara of East Africa where animals and humans scramble for land, thereby leaving the animals not enough space for their comfort (Orenstein 72). Animals such as elephants no longer have enough space and that too is pushing them to the brink of extinction because they are struggling to survive in that limited space.
Human activity has led to change of climate and that too affect the existence of man himself and other organisms. Many species try so much to cope with the changing climate, especially when they have been pushed to regions that are themselves threats to their mere existence. But most organisms have devised their ways of coping with climate change and ecosystem interference. First of all, the genetic composition of some organisms does change because of its exposure to a set of climatic conditions, that is why relatively big animals become smaller with time while smaller animals also become bigger after some time (Wiens 8). Most animals just have to move to regions, for example, moving to regions that match their survival attitude levels.
The barriers to the dispersal of organisms mainly center on the environment and climate, more especially when they are not favorable for their survival. Dispersal is greatly influenced by biotic and abiotic filters that select ‘potential colonies from the regional species pool (Bustamante- Sanchez, Marcela & Halpern 292). Biotic filters select individual organisms through resource and non- resource constraints while abiotic factors include competition and facilitation. When animals and plants compete for food, normally the strongest of them win and is able to survive whereas those that cannot access food are wiped out. But again, artificial or manmade barriers play a major role in the lack of dispersal of plants and animals. Some of the manmade barriers include creation of barriers along streams or water masses that barriers impede movement of aquatic organisms. Human activity and climate barriers also hinder the movement of organisms from place to the other.
Bustamante-Sanchez, Marcela, A., Armesto, Juan J. & Halpern, Charles B. “Biotic and Abiotic controls on Tree Colonization in Three early Successional Communities of Chiloe Island, Chile”. Journal of Ecology. 99, (2009): 288- 299. Print
Isaac, Joanne L. “Effects of climate Change on Life History: Implications for Extinction Risk in Mammals”. Endangered Species Research. Vol. 7, (2009): 115- 123. Print
Orenstein, Ronald. Ivory, Horn and Blood: Behind the Elephant and Rhinoceros Poaching Crisis. Ontario: Firefly Books, 2013. Print
Wiens, John, J. “The Niche, Biogeography and Species Interactions”. Philosophical Transactions B. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2011.o059. (2011): 1- 19. Print
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