ENVS 201 Conservation Ecology
Buena Vista University
I chose option 2 for the workshop three assignment which involves defining endemic and finding two endemic species and describe them and their location, and what risks they have due to their location and their specific needs. Determine a region with a high percentage of endemic species and a region with a low percentage of endemic species. Explain the specific reasons that these areas either have high or low percentages of endemic species. An endemic species is one whose habitat is restricted to a particular area. The term could refer to an animal, a plant, a fungus, or even a microorganism. The definition differs from “indigenous,” or “native,” species in that the latter, although it occurs naturally in an area, is also found in other areas. Endemic species are often endangered, and particular examples may become a focus point for campaigns to protect biodiversity in a given environment. Some have become national or regional emblems. The term can sometimes be used relatively. A species may be said to be endemic to one tiny area or to a large land mass, such as Australia. When it comes to birds, which are less land-bound than mammals or other animals, biologists might use slightly different terms to talk about what habitats a bird is “endemic” to. Bird experts talk about Endemic Bird Areas or EBAs that represent the total habitat for a bird species. An EBA may include temporary habitats or regions for a bird, as migration patterns broaden the spaces that bird types live in. There are two ways in which a species may come to be endemic to a particular area. An initially widely distributed population may disappear from many of its habitats, due to changes which have occurred. These could be climate changes, an influx of predators, or human activities. Eventually the organism may be confined to just one area: This type is known as a paleoendemic species. A good example is the giant sequoia tree, which used to be found over large parts of North America, but is now confined to a small part of California. Various factors could also cause to populations of a given species to become isolated form one another. For example, as a result of plate tectonics, a continent may split apart, forming two new continents, each with its own population of a given organism. Over long periods of time, these two populations evolve differently, because they cannot interbreed with one another, and eventually they are sufficiently different from one another to be classified as separate species. These are known as neoendemic species. In some cases, where a population has been isolated for a very long time, the members may look very different from anything elsewhere on the planet; for example, Australia has a number of unique animals, such as kangaroos and koala bears. The first endemic of the two I chose to talk about was the Whooping Crane. The Whooping Crane, the tallest North American bird, is an endangered crane species named for its whooping sound. In 2003, there were about 153 pairs of whooping cranes. Along with the Sandhill Crane, it is one of only two crane species found in North America. The Whooping Crane’s lifespan is estimated to be 22 to 24 years in the wild. After being pushed to the brink of extinction by unregulated hunting and loss of habitat to just 21 wild and two captive Whooping Cranes by 1941, conservation efforts have led to a limited recovery. As of 2011, there are an estimated 437 birds in the wild and more than 165 in captivity. An adult Whooping Crane is white with a red crown and a long, dark, pointed bill. Immature Whooping Cranes are cinnamon brown. While in flight, their long necks are kept straight and their long dark legs trail behind them. The adult Whooping Crane’s black wing tips are visible during flight. The species can stand up to 1.5 meters and...
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