Articles on Ecology

It’s difficult to think and talk ‘green‘ without thinking about ecology and our ecosystem. But how we we define ecology?

What is the history of ecology, what is the ecology symbol, and what are the problems associated with ecology? All these questions and more are important if one wants to venture into living green and helping the environment. So if this describes at least one of your life goals, you are at the right place.

Articles on Ecology / Landscape Modeling of Coastal Habitat Change in the Mississippi Delta

Lousiana has experienced massive wetland habitat change, and to validate such coastal change, a landscape model was developed to explore and predict all the environmental factors affecting it. Different temporal and spatial scales was accomplished with interpolation routines and algorithms. Forces such as subsidence, sedimentation, and sea level rise were included in the study while existing climate and hydrologic time series were calibrated against hydrologic functions.

Habitat information was compared to the maps prepared by USFWs on 1978 & 1988. Landscape sample of the model 1978 was initialized using spatial standardization. It was then being related against a 1988 USFWs habitat map. The 10-year simulation was authenticated through the initialization with a 1956 USFWs habitat map. Although it lacks small-scale processes and features, it produced reasonable regional agreement, and a land-loss rates that matched historical trends with an accuracy fit above 75.

The simulation continues 30 years starting in 1988 testing for long-term climate variability under various scenarios.

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Articles on Ecology / The Vanishing of the Arctic Ice Cap

The Arctic Ice Cap was formed over the Arctic Ocean about 50 million years ago. It was practically covering the entire sea with a sheet of ice, but as the continents continued to move and climate changed, shifts in water and air currents triggers the earth progressively cool down.

Since the earth has been going through extraordinary and intense climatic changes, scientists have known that it is the northern and southern ice caps which would be the first threat of global warming. And now it is being verified that there have been loss of sea ice, warming of arctic and land masses, and the flow of warmer ocean currents into the arctic region.

Since 1920’s, it has been recorded that the greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere is a big contributor to global warming today due to great human activity. The consequence of shrinking and thinning of arctic ice caps will have a huge effect to the environment mostly to different life elements. The melting of arctic ice is anticipated in mounting sea levels and shifting volume of ocean water, but the impact is very little.

It is of scientists and ecologists biggest concern, the increase of fresh, cold water into the marine environment. The ecosystem’s adaptation and food chain’s dependence to brackish waters would channel more cold water into the oceanic conveyor belt. There would also be displacement of plant and animals to more saline ecosystems, some will draw back to land-based ecosystems, and there will be new voyager marine species in the nutrient rich waters of the arctic.

Articles on Ecology / Fossils Fuels vs. Renewable Energy Resources: Energy’s Future Today

Fossil fuel exists, and they provide a valuable and significant service. They were formed from plants and animals that lived hundred of million of years ago. The earliest fossil fuel deposits are known 500 million years ago, when most of the major groups of animals first appeared on earth. It was on the Pliocene period, 5 million years ago, where more substandard fuels like peat or coal began forming. Fossil fuels together with the notorius nuclear energy are supplying 93% of the world’s energy resources.

Fossil fuel is not renewable. Their supply is getting inadequate and will be depleted soon. We cannot escape from using this kind of energy and it’s not a problem at all, but it is the side effects of using them that causes all of the problems. Burning them creates carbon dioxide and is considered the largest contributor of emitting green house gasses into the atmosphere. Air pollution and the depriviation of human life and plant growth is also a direct result of using fossil fuels.

Because there is a dilemma of exhausting fossil fuel’s source, there is a great deal of information and enthusiasm today about the developing and increasing the reduction of alternative energy source. Sun, wind, and water are the perfect candidates for these energy source substitutes, creating their own energy. Not only they are renewable, they also reduce carbon dioxide emissions, adding greater elasticity to the energy resource on limited fossil fuel reserves.

Today, solar energy, wind power and moving water are all the traditional sources of renewable energy. Using the supreme energy of the sun, it is found in all things. Without the sun, no existing things or life would survive. The wind and water power have been effectively used for generations. Its currents are passed through turbines, converting their energy into electricity. The wind energy is collected using hundred of turbines or windmills spreadly over large plots of land, while water energy is collected through dams.

Fossil fuel reserves are getting depleted as the years gone by. We have no choice but to prepare ourselves for new age of energy production, since the population is ballooning every year, increasing human energy demands.

Articles on Ecology / Anthrax: Disease from a naturally occurring bacteria

Anthrax is not lethal like influenza and some other deadly diseases but because the bacteria has been intentionally distributed to people through postage or mailing, the United States has a worldwide concern for its spread.
Anthrax is an infectious disease caused by a bacteria called bacillus anthracis. Its spread is through spores, easily causing anthrax disease to humans and animals.

It can occur in humans in three forms: skin or cutaneous, gastro-intestinal and inhalation. The bacteria occurs naturally in agricultural regions in warm-blooded, usually domestic and wild animals found in South and Central America, Asia, the Middle East and Southern & Eastern Europe.

It can live in soil and water for up to 20 long years. Anthrax can infect human who has direct contact with infected dead animals, or by eating undercooked meat or infected animals.
Inhalation of anthrax is the most fatal form of anthrax in humans but earlier treatment can be administered. People can also be vaccinated against anthrax for better chances of recovery.

Articles on Ecology / Tracking Air Pollution…from Space

NASA’s Terra Spacecraft is one of the United States major Earth-Observing satellite System (EOS), designed for the gathering of data needed to forecast future changes in the global environment. It was launched in December 1999, and after it travelled around the globe and compiled the first ever complete view of world’s air, it was clearly identified that air pollution is a global problem. Terra has allowed scientists to observe carbon monoxide and other pollutants produced by combustion two to three miles above earth’s surface where ozone is formed through interaction with other gasses.

One of the greatest impacts observed is an enormous immense of carbon dioxide by human activities. Its production is due to the incomplete burning or combustion of gasoline and other fossil fuels used in cars, furnaces and industries. It also produces ozone, a greenhouse gas that figured naturally in the upper atmosphere but is unsafe to humans.

Equipped with the information, scientists and engineers are taking part to develop alternative energy for effective and affordable replacement and to find ways for efficient burning of fossil fuels. The rapid consumption of fossil fuels, we can anticipate to deplete them before the end of this century.

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