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The Significance of Mass Extinctions

By kianyung1800 Jul 01, 2012 785 Words
Question 1
How significant are mass extinctions to living organisms?
Mass extinctions are very important events to the living organism. When mass extinction happens, it will create huge impact toward the world, negative or positive. For the conservation biologist, they usually think this is a great loss. On the other hand, from the evolutionary perspective, mass extinction could be something good and bad at the same time. Mass extinction would end a lineages and the unique genetic vitiation will be eliminate (Jablonski, 2001). The result of this factor is the loss of the species and it might have some value toward the humankind, such as the medical or economic value. Also, if the extinct species still exist, it might make a different in the world, such as human no longer the most intelligent species in the world.

The next point would be the good side of mass extinction. Although the mass extinction could kill more than 50% species on the world, but that is not the end for the world yet. In additional, the mass extinction opens a new chapter for the evolutionary process to take place. As Darwin suggest, the theory of survival of the fittest is the one who can could compete and able to adapt to the environment will survive. The mass extinction could wipe most of the species out, but for those species escape from the large-scale disaster, they will survive and become stronger or evolve in order to survive. Over the period, it reshapes the evolutionary landscape in term of the survivability and the reshape of evolutionary opportunity as well. For example-the dinosaur, many scientists said they were once the greatest predator in the world, but they cannot survive and extinct from the world. The dinosaur were once the dominant groups among the species, after they were gone there will be new dominant groups rise and replace them after a certain period.

Question 2
Why are reefs so important?
Many US coral reefs exist before the European colonized the nearby shores, so some reefs are older than many other species. These coral reefs could serve as an intrinsic value to humankind because the beauteousness of it and they are the internal part of many cultures and our natural heritage (NOAA). Moreover, Coral reefs play an important role in the marine ecosystem. It could serve many good purposes to the ecosystem. For example, the existence of coral reefs allows the wide diversity in the area. The fish, plankton and many microorganisms could growth because of the reefs (Gagosian). Many marine species need coral reef as their feeding grounds or habitat. It is crucial for the survival of them especially for the small fishes because it is a good place for them to live, and also hide from the threats. Also, the reefs could change the ocean current and it is crucial for some species to migrate to other places such as the sea turtle. The size of sea turtle does not allow them to travel that fast, the aids from the reef to change the current serve as the travelling “tool” for them. Furthermore, we the human could use coral reefs as one of our income. The health of the coral reefs could help us to ensure the stability of the marine species and could helps to attract people to visit. The coral reefs could help to sustain the tourism and recreation industry, and it support up to hundred commercial and recreational fisheries that will worth millions of dollar to the state and local economic (NOAA). Based on the statistic, the diving tours, recreational fishing trip, and so on make a profit of billions of dollars from the visitor. Moreover, others job opportunity such as scuba divers, snorkelers and fishermen get the chance to earn profit to sustain support their life. Last but not least, coral reefs could serve as medicine as well. The named coral reef as “medicine cabinets”. And it could even treat cancer, arthritis, human bacterial infections, heart disease, viruses and other diseases. The potential of coral reefs are yet to be discovered and estimate can helps a lot in the future.

Gagosian, R. B. (n.d.). Ecology and the Environment. Retrieved Oct 21, 2011, from Jablonski, D. (2001). Lessons from the past: Evolutionary impacts of mass extinctions. Retrieved Oct 20, 2011, from PNAS: NOAA. (n.d.). Why Are Coral Reefs So Important? Retrieved Oct 21, 2011, from NOAA: Sale, P. F. (2006). Coral Reef Fishes: Dynamics and Diversity in a Complex Ecosystem. Gulf Professional Publishing.

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