My mission statement, of sorts, is I am a professional student saving the planet one carnivore at a time and a scientific review published today in Science (Volume 343) does a pretty good job of explaining why. Carnivores are really cool but the importance of keeping these species’ populations healthy is more important than because they’re badass.
Most of the members of the order Carnivora are at the top of the food chain in their ecosystem making them an integral part of the health and well-being of that ecosystem. And, since carnivores exist in almost every habitat on Earth, declines in these species can be seriously detrimental to the condition of our plant. Carnivores play an important role in regulating ecosystem function. Other species, both flora and fauna, rely on carnivores hunting, scavenging, leaving prey remains, etc. whether directly or indirectly. A decline in carnivores has some fairly unexpected effects including changes in biodiversity, disease, and even stream morphology.
Natural ecosystem balance has ebb and flow, but in recent ecological history the ebb is beating out the flow in regards to many carnivore populations. Factors such as human-animal conflict, habitat loss and depletion of prey due to over hunting are changing our planet’s carnivore populations and declines are causing declines in other essential species and increases in destructive ones. This review focused on seven of the 31 large mammalian species of Carnivora (above) which have documented trophic cascades (meaning the predator is responsible for the alteration traits of their prey within a food web – ie the Circle of Life) reporting on the effects each carnivore has on its individual ecosystem. Their conclusions, humans cannot replace carnivores in their role of preserving ecosystem balance and conservation efforts need to be made to prevent further loss or even extinction of such important biodiversity and ecosystem function maintenance species.
The last week has been quite a life changing adventure. My parents and I traveled out to College Station/Bryan, Texas in search of my first home and… WE FOUND IT! Currently we are going through the post inspection negotiations but everything has been going quite smoothly thus far.
The “cheetah vs. leopard print” debacle has stuck again! I went to Michael’s today just to pick up a few supplies to finish a current art project I am working on and, as always, I decided to browse a little; possibly spark some inspiration. In the framing department they had a display of adorable mini-frames, a few of which were on clearance. I was joyed to see that the metallic leopard print frames were on sale for $1.99 (50% off their regular price) so I grabbed 6 and made my way to the register. I thought they would be cute to use for one of CCF SoCal’s many upcoming events! Now, at the register they rang up as “cheetah” (which was not on clearance). I explained to the cashier that this frame WAS leopard print and that there were NO frames with cheetah print but there were zebra and tiger. When she called for assistance, I told them if they could tell me which of the three frames they were trying to pull off as being leopard, when, in fact, the ones I brought up WERE leopard, I would purchase them because I just wanted African themed. But, alas, they could not and they would not honor the clearance price despite their mistake. The prices posted labeled the three frames as Cheetah, Leopard and Zebra. 1 out of 3 is an "F" Michael’s. Someone doesn’t know their animals and by not knowing your animals, you’re FALSE ADVERTISING!
At this moment I would like to give a shout out to Michael Kors. Not only is he an amazing designer who I LOVE but this man holds a special place in my heart because he knows his animal print!
I am a biologist and my life is crap!