Patchiness and scale

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What is a patch?
A discrete area of habitat e.g. woodland
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Define: matrix
The background ecosystem which dominates the surrounding landscape e.g. fields/vineyards etc.
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What are corridors?
These are strips of land traversing the matrix and connecting the patches of habitat e.g. hedgerows/streams etc.
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What is the issue with funding for ecological studies?
Most finance- short term e.g. 3 years. Ecological processes and patterns occur at different scales- many well over 3 years in length/cycle. Also society is usually more interested in dramatic processes e.g. El Nino- works on at least 5 year cycle.
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Why is it difficult to measure declines in bird populations?
Small scales? survival + breeding success of individuals? e.g. Blue ***- 6 months for whole nesting season. Or large scale- effects of climate change on migratory birds e.g. Nightjars. To conserve- needs to be large scale.
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What are the issues with conserving Kiwis in New Zealand?
Unusual- evolved in isolation- flightless, nest in burrows + forage on forest floor. Very vulnerable to introduced species e.g. cats.- which are very mobile + effective predators of birds.
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As culling cats is expensive, what tests were carried out to see whether culling would be effective in conserving Kiwis?
Raffaelli + Moller (2000). Tried culling in different areas. Decided most effective strategy: 24 hour armed body guard on areas where females foraged around nests.
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Why are rabbits seen as a pest population in Australia?
Introduced species- compete with sheep + cattle for grass
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What happened in the 1990's in Australia to decimate rabbit populations?
A blowfly vector carried Calicivirus (RCD) from where it was being tested t a research station on Wadang island to the mainland.
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Describe some unpredicted effects of the Calicivirus on the australian ecology?
the usual predators of rabbits- generalists- switched to native species for prey- many of which were endangered. Some native species predators had switched to hunting rabbits e.g. Australian wedge tailed eagle- resorted to roadkill.- inc. accidents
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How long should an experiment run for before ecologists can be sure they have observed all the effects of a disruption in the food web?
Yodzis rule- 2 x the generation time of all the species in the longest trophic pathway
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What efforts have been carried out to try and protect giant skinks?
An area suitable for giant skints was identified and huge fences erected around it- within all predators are hunted.
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What can the scale of an experiment refer to?
Space and time
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How should the scale of an experiment be decided upon?
Needs to be relevant to the home range and generation time of the target species.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

Define: matrix

Back

The background ecosystem which dominates the surrounding landscape e.g. fields/vineyards etc.

Card 3

Front

What are corridors?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What is the issue with funding for ecological studies?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Why is it difficult to measure declines in bird populations?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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