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Does it really matter?

Discussion of the distribution and abundance of living organisms and how these properties are affected by interactions between the organisms and their environment

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Does it really matter?

Postby i_r_e_d » Sat Dec 26, 2009 4:39 am

I realize while saying this that I will get a rise out of a lot of you (which is perfectly understandable and agreeable) but I have a question. Does it truly matter to the ecosystem if an incredibly rare animal becomes extinct? I know that if a species becomes extinct then our future children wouldn't get the chance to see it and that it's human's responsibility to take proper care a precautions of the Earth's creatures, but in retrospect; would it truly matter to the immediate and global environment if, let's say, the Iberian Lynx, with a population of 120 (http://www.animalinfo.org/rarest.htm), would go extinct?
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Postby JackBean » Sat Dec 26, 2009 12:06 pm

in some very short time, it may matter (in the case of lynx, predators will be locally missing), what may cause some little disturbations to the ecosystem (herbivores can overpopulate, that can cause deplenishion of plants, spreading of patogens etc.), but this will be counterbalanced (new predators; the less plants, the less herbivors will survive; the more patogens, the less hosts may be available etc.). In the end, there will be new equilibrium ;)
Of course, also, probalby, the extinction won't be from one day to another, so all these effects will happen all the time...

Something else is some big extiction, like dinosaures, which can lead to temporary colaps of ecosystem, but as you can see and as you are proof of it, the nature still survives even in such a case ;)
http://www.biolib.cz/en/main/

Cis or trans? That's what matters.
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Postby kolean » Sat Dec 26, 2009 9:20 pm

I would agree that the only ones that it really matters to is the animal going extinct.
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Postby plasmodesmata11 » Sun Dec 27, 2009 4:22 am

I think that if the population is low enough, or the density of the animal is low enough, it would not have an impact. However, it is always possible that the species could repopulate. In retrospect, then, it would matter. But say there are, like in your example, very few of a species left. They will make little if any significant impact on the ecosystem.
And please keep in mind I am not saying their existence is meaningless, because it isn't. :D
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Postby jwalin » Sun Dec 27, 2009 4:28 pm

wait we can't be careless.
we can't keep this attitude.
today its just one then tommorrow ther will be 2 and then we will have all extinct animals
it isn't what you do that matters but it is how you do it
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Re: Does it really matter?

Postby kolean » Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:18 pm

i_r_e_d wrote: but in retrospect; would it truly matter to the immediate and global environment

I am going to assume that this comment is so human-ego-centric (I am sure there is a more technical term than this :mrgreen: ).
i_r_e_d wrote:if a species becomes extinct then our future children wouldn't get the chance to see it

This again is from a human's point of view in which I am All in this world. Is there not another reason you can come up with for wanting a species not to go extinct, other than your offspring to oogle them?

i_r_e_d wrote: human's responsibility to take proper care a precautions of the Earth's creatures,

Only since we seem to be taking up more than a fair share of the Earth's natural resources.
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Re: Does it really matter?

Postby i_r_e_d » Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:03 am

that this comment is so human-ego-centric


By no means was that meant to be from a human's perspective, instead it was meant to be from a view of the Earth as a living being.

This again is from a human's point of view in which I am All in this world. Is there not another reason you can come up with for wanting a species not to go extinct, other than your offspring to oogle them?


Not really... How does a species of population 120 in Asian affect the progression of this planet? Not very much at all... Can you come up with a reason other than that's what we should do?

Only since we seem to be taking up more than a fair share of the Earth's natural resources.


Exactly!

wait we can't be careless.
we can't keep this attitude.
today its just one then tommorrow ther will be 2 and then we will have all extinct animals


Jwalin:
I in no terms condone the extinction of any creatures. I agree with you, this was just some food for thought...
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Postby Endangered » Fri Jan 01, 2010 1:36 am

In the larger sense, it doesn't matter much if it's a "natural" extinction. Nature abhors a vacuum. Remove a large predator and the mesopredators move in. Delete a group of pollinators and others will evolve to exploit that niche...maybe not in time to stop the extinction of numerous plants, but you get the point.

In the decades to come, we are going to have to pick our battles as to which species to "save" because we're not going to be able to save them all. I've spent the better part of my career dealing with endangered species issues and pondering this very question...but in the end, it's just 2cents thrown into cyberspace.
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Re: Does it really matter?

Postby kolean » Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:56 am

i_r_e_d wrote:no means was that meant to be from a human's perspective, instead it was meant to be from a view of the Earth as a living being.

You are still a human 'thinking' you can project your view upon the Earth. You can give it any reason/excuse, but it is still a human's perspective. Then again, it is the only truth that we know. Or what we perceive to know.
Do you think the Earth considers itself more than the planet Mars? Just because the Earth has carbon-based life forms instead of lovely swirling gases and cold hard elements only? :mrgreen: (human perspective here, and lame humor).

i_r_e_d wrote:How does a species of population 120 in Asian affect the progression of this planet

I would want to know why there is only a population of 120 left in Asian. What would be the cause of this extinction? Is it a natural phenomenon/occurence? Are we the cause of this extinction? Perhaps not. I just read that the male cubs become very aggressive and can kill off their littermates when they get to 45 days (peak). This may be a behavior that was acceptable when there was plenty of them (and kept their numbers down to match the environment), but now when they are limited in number, it may not be a good idea. Perhaps the humans in this case are the ones who can help them survive as breeding programs can alleviate this destructive behavior.

i_r_e_d wrote:affect the progression of this planet

What do you mean by 'progression' of this planet?
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Re: Does it really matter?

Postby Chroma » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:52 pm

i_r_e_d wrote:By no means was that meant to be from a human's perspective, instead it was meant to be from a view of the Earth as a living being.

In general I'd avoid thinking as the world as a living being... From everything I've been able to gather Gaia Theory is more applicable the more loosely you apply the theory, until it's been reduced to "the planet tends to have relatively stable systems"...

That being said if you think of the Earth's biosphere as a system, then ask yourself what are the consequences of removing parts from any other system? Some will have very little effect while others will result in a loss or partial loss of function. Unlike most machines we build the Earth's biosphere is able to replace pieces with new ones; but, this takes, relative to our perspective, an extremely long time to accomplish. So extinctions are very unlikely to wipe out all life on this planet, but given we are part of the system, and in a niche that is very dependent on a number of the worlds functions, we should not take extinction lightly; they often result in economic difficulties and can lead to *our* extinction... But in the end, the Earth could not care ;)
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Re: Does it really matter?

Postby i_r_e_d » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:14 pm

kolean wrote:
i_r_e_d wrote:affect the progression of this planet

What do you mean by 'progression' of this planet?


I mean that as time continues to progress, the planet continues to change... from dinosaurs, to really hairy mammals, to us, then to who knows what the heck is coming next...
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Postby JackBean » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:50 pm

Well, the Earth doesn't really care, whether there are dinosaurs or some wolf, of which are are only 20 pieces ;)
http://www.biolib.cz/en/main/

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