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Nature_and_Environment.99

The Human Habitat

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{Nature_and_Environment.99.3}: Modelling An Ecology {bshmr} Sun, 19 Apr 2009 10:40:36 EDT (41 lines)

Article wanders through significant aspects of an ecological research
project.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090415163205.htm

Animal Survival In Inherited Habitats ScienceDaily (Apr. 19, 2009) —
Researchers are exploring how inheriting favorable or unfavorable
habitat affects the overall rise and fall of animal populations. For
some animal species, inheriting habitat may play as much of a role in
survival as inheriting intelligence, fertility, camouflage or other
genetically transferred characteristics.

...

For example, one aspect of the study involved Schauber and the team
examining population spikes of gypsy moths, which as an invasive
species can cause widespread defoliation in American northeastern
forests when unchecked. Mice, it turns out, play a key role in
preventing such occurrences by decimating the moth population at its
pupae stage, which occurs near the ground and makes them easy pickings
for the hungry rodents.

...

Living in a hot spot, however, can also lead to other consequences,
such as animals more readily passing on diseases. That looks like the
case between mice, ticks and the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.
The team in this case suspects the hot spot effect could concentrate
the disease more readily in ticks, which pick up the bacteria from
mice and together pass it on to subsequent generations. They will test
this theory in the coming years with the mouse removal experiment.

...

“It’s not that this is a completely novel idea. Researchers have been
thinking about the effect of inheriting a good spot on animals in the
ecology literature for a long time,” he said. “In our work, though,
we’ve been actually able to apply mathematics and quantify how this
works. Because it’s analogous to natural selection, we can use the
same formulas geneticists use to understand how this spatial
inheritability influences how populations grow and shrink.”

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