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Old 11-04-2013, 09:57 PM
 
Location: Denver
3,487 posts, read 2,892,562 times
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Ok, so I've come up with this idea that the more species an ecosystem, has the healthier it is. Why do I think this, because if one set of variables devastates one species, say disease or cold or drought or bugs..., another species will be there to fill in the left by the hurt species. All species will be affected by some set of variables, so no species are able to maintain a healthy ecosystem by itself. Invasive species are by definition bad because they take up space that could be used by other species, thus lowering the number of species.

So a prairie with 23 species of grass is healthier than one with 17 species. A forest with 5 tree species is healthier than one with 2 species.

What do you think? Can the number of species indicate the health of an ecosystem?
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Old 11-10-2013, 08:00 AM
 
Location: Hyrule
8,395 posts, read 10,184,513 times
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I believe so, it's called balance. Just as eating a balance of foods is healthy, so is a balanced ecosystem. I a strong believer in this. IMO, of course.
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Old 11-11-2013, 06:58 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,662 posts, read 76,416,882 times
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I have seen this argument that a body of "crystal clear" water is a much worse ecosystem than even a polluted one, because the clarity of the water expresses the lack of diversity of the life forms associated with it.

Golf courses are a good example. Although they are green spaces in an urban environment, they are a botanical monoculture, unattractive to birds and ground-dwelling animal life, and heavily dosed with toxic chemicals to minimize invasive species of both plants and animals.

In desert towns in the American southwest, birdwatchers congregate at the sewage treatment plants and city dumps, which is where a diversity of bird species can be found.
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Old 11-13-2013, 06:39 PM
 
Location: TOVCCA
8,452 posts, read 12,112,244 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil P View Post
So a prairie with 23 species of grass is healthier than one with 17 species.
Funny you said 23, the number of human chromosome pairs. Of course, the people that have the most different chromosome mixes have fewer inherited disorders.
Same thing with canines. Mutts are healthier than purebreeds, in this way.
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Old 11-13-2013, 10:25 PM
 
Location: WA
4,246 posts, read 7,989,495 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil P View Post
Ok, so I've come up with this idea that the more species an ecosystem, has the healthier it is. Why do I think this, because if one set of variables devastates one species, say disease or cold or drought or bugs..., another species will be there to fill in the left by the hurt species. All species will be affected by some set of variables, so no species are able to maintain a healthy ecosystem by itself. Invasive species are by definition bad because they take up space that could be used by other species, thus lowering the number of species.

So a prairie with 23 species of grass is healthier than one with 17 species. A forest with 5 tree species is healthier than one with 2 species.

What do you think? Can the number of species indicate the health of an ecosystem?
This is a well established theory in Ecology.

But it's good that you derived it on your own. Shows some good critical thinking.
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Old 11-16-2013, 07:50 AM
 
Location: Denver
3,487 posts, read 2,892,562 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
I have seen this argument that a body of "crystal clear" water is a much worse ecosystem than even a polluted one, because the clarity of the water expresses the lack of diversity of the life forms associated with it.

Golf courses are a good example. Although they are green spaces in an urban environment, they are a botanical monoculture, unattractive to birds and ground-dwelling animal life, and heavily dosed with toxic chemicals to minimize invasive species of both plants and animals.

In desert towns in the American southwest, birdwatchers congregate at the sewage treatment plants and city dumps, which is where a diversity of bird species can be found.
It makes you wonder why we like monoculture? Lawns, similar trees, hedges...
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightlysparrow View Post
Funny you said 23, the number of human chromosome pairs. Of course, the people that have the most different chromosome mixes have fewer inherited disorders.
Same thing with canines. Mutts are healthier than purebreeds, in this way.
Maybe this is why we are attracted to opposites. For genetic health. I mean, most people aren't attracted to family.
Quote:
Originally Posted by seattlenextyear View Post
This is a well established theory in Ecology.

But it's good that you derived it on your own. Shows some good critical thinking.
Well, I'm glad I'm not the first one to think of this!

So, let me ask the next question: should we reintroduce native species and introduce noninvasive foreign species onto a plot of land? Where I live, in Black Forest CO, the "natural" habitat is very monoculture. 1 tree type, Ponderosa Pine, 4 bush types, and 4 grass types. Several grasses have been introduced to the area and I think it is more healthy with them. We have about 15 introduced species, and many of these species grow in areas where native grass won't, are prettier, hold the soil better, and extend the "green" period of the grass far beyond the buffalo bluegramma green time. Should we do this in other places though?
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Old 11-16-2013, 08:25 AM
MJ7
 
6,221 posts, read 8,993,633 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil P View Post
Ok, so I've come up with this idea that the more species an ecosystem, has the healthier it is. Why do I think this, because if one set of variables devastates one species, say disease or cold or drought or bugs..., another species will be there to fill in the left by the hurt species. All species will be affected by some set of variables, so no species are able to maintain a healthy ecosystem by itself. Invasive species are by definition bad because they take up space that could be used by other species, thus lowering the number of species.

So a prairie with 23 species of grass is healthier than one with 17 species. A forest with 5 tree species is healthier than one with 2 species.

What do you think? Can the number of species indicate the health of an ecosystem?
it all starts with soil and the bacteria in the soil that help plants fix nitrogen etc. just because a forest only has a few species in no way determines if that ecosystem is healthy or unhealthy. you would need to do a diagnostic species to area ratio and run soil samples and then follow that given forest over time to see what changes occur in diversity or extinction, etc. people do this, they are called biologists/botanists/soil scientists/geologists, etc.
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