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Biology Article

  • Date Submitted: 03/05/2014 08:46 PM
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Biology 1210
Professor Dawson
5 February 2014
Article Two

Naturally, species go extinct. It’s part of life. Species generally are born and die within a million year time scale. That million year time scale is the natural rate of extinction. However, unknown to most people, the actual time scale at which species are disappearing from the planet is actually one hundred times higher than the natural rate. Obviously, this is alarming. Species should not be dying off this quickly. However, it is our own fault that the world is losing it’s diversity at an alarming rate. Whether it be from global warming, habitat loss, or invasive species we humans play a major role in the alarming rate of extinction. But, not all species run the risks. Some are much more vulnerable to extinction than others because of where they live. You would think that the species closest to large human populations would be most at risk. Oddly enough, it is just the opposite. Some of the hottest spots for extinction occur in very unpopulated places such as islands, Australia, the southern tip of Africa, the Mississippi delta, and East African lakes. This is because that most species that in these areas are highly specialized and have a very small range of areas that they live in. A similar way to think about this is to think about coral reefs. Although reefs make up a very small part of the ocean, many species live in and around coral reefs and if the coral reef disappears the very large population relative to the small coral reef will also disappear. The next question one might ask would be how to protect these places where rapid extinction rates are occurring. This question is hard to answer because many of the locations that need to be protected lie in third world countries that would rather use their rain forests as a source income rather than turn it into a national park. One solution is to buy all the land that needs to be protected. This, however, is very expensive and illegal logging is...


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