Climate and Ecosystem

Climate and Ecosystem - Energy, Society, and the...

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Unformatted text preview: Energy, Society, and the Environment Unit 10 Energy, the Climate, and the Ecosystem Energy and Environment The connection between energy generation and our ecosystem is a multi-faceted one. 1. How is our environment affected to date? 2. What caused these events? 3. How does the future look? 4. Can we change the course? How? Three Real Stories Mountain Pine Beetle Infestation in North America The Extinct Golden Toad in the Costa Rica Cloud Forests Bleached Coral Reefs in the Indian Ocean and Australia Mountain Pine Beetle The mountain pine beetle ( Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins, Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae) is a native insect of the pine forests of western North America. Bores holes into trees, leaves larvae in the bark, kills tree (first red, then grey). Periodically erupts into outbreaks. Outbreak in British Columbia Image credit: Kurz et al., Nature, 452 , 987-990 Is it Unusual? The current outbreak in British Columbia, Canada, is an order of magnitude larger in area and severity than all previous recorded outbreaks . ( Kurz et al., Nature, 452 , 987-990) In northwestern Colorado alone, 3.5 million acres of pine forests have been killed by pine beetles in the last 10 yrs. USGS determined that tree mortality rates in the western states have more than doubled in the recent years. The Cause Nature's most effective population control for the beetles is cold weather, which kills beetle larvae. Sudden cold snaps of - 25 degrees C in the early fall or late spring, or sustained winter temperatures less than - 40 degrees C are required in order to curtail infestations. Since 1994, mild winters have decreased the winter mortality rate of beetle larvae from the usual 80 per cent mortality to less than 10 per cent mortality, which led to a large scale outbreak. Costa Rica Golden Toad Extinction Once abundant in a small region of high- altitude cloud-covered forests above Monteverde, Costa Rica Discovered in 1966, extinct since 1989 Changing weather patterns shown to be responsible for its extinction, as is the case for other amphibian populations in the region Healthy Coral Reefs Coral Bleaching Bleaching in Coral Reefs Corals live in a symbiotic relationship with microscopic algae, which gives them nutrients and their color. Coral bleaching occurs when corals lose (expel) their algae. Corals begin to starve, and if stressful conditions persist, die. Stress is attributed to increased ocean temperatures , ocean acidification , overfishing Many other examples All can be attributed to 1. rising temperatures 2. changes in rain/snowfall patterns What Do We Know For Sure?...
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Climate and Ecosystem - Energy, Society, and the...

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