animal and plant research: elephant & cactus
Habitat loss is one of the key threat towards elephants. The cause is climate change, the weather gets hotter and drier. Conflict with human population is taking over more and more and elephant habitats are poaching. Of the two species, African elephants are divided into two subspecies (savannah and forest), while Asian elephants are divided into four subspecies (Sri Lankan, Indian, Sumatran and Borneo). Asian elephants has and have taken a very important part in Asian culture for over thousands of years. They have been domesticated and are used in religious festivals, and a form of transportation for both humans and objects. African savannah elephants can be found in savannah zones of 37 countries in the south of the Sahara Desert, African forest elephants inhabit the rainforests of west and central Africa. Asian elephants can be found in India, Sri Lanka, China, Thailand and a few other countries in the Southeast of Asia. Elephants diets or the niches are mainly grasses, leaves, bamboo, bark, roots, they are also well known for eating crops likes bananas and sugarcanes. Adult elephants eat 300-400 lbs of food per day. In the 20th century, the population of elephants were only a few million African elephants and about 100,000 Asian elephants. To this day, there are an estimated 450,000-700,000 African elephants and 35,000-40,000. An example of a community in elephants would be the Herd. Elephants for deep family bonds and lice in tight family groups of related females called the herd. The herd is lead by the oldest and often the largest female in the group, this elephant is called a matriarch. Herds consists of 8-100 individuals which would range on the terrain and family size. When a calf is born, it is raised and protected by the whole matriarchal herd. Makes leave the family unit in between the ages of 12-15 and they may lead solitary lives or live temporarily with other males.
Elephants interacting with other animals. This is an example of an ecosystem
A cactus is a member of the plant family Cactaceae. This group of plants have about 127 members and about 1750 known species. Most cacti live in habitats which subject to at least some drought, and many live in extremely dry environments. Some can even be found in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on earth. Cacti shows a variety of adaptations to preserve water. Almost all cactus are succulents, which means they have thickened to fleshy parts adapting to store water in them. Unlike other succulents, the stem is the only part of this plant. As well as defending itself against herbivores, the spikes helps the cacti into water losing water by reducing air flow. The spines are actually high modified leaves. A fully grown saguaro (a type of cacti) can absorb up to 200 US gallons of water during a rainstorm.
What are mangroves? Where do they grow?
- Mangroves are shrub and tree species that live along shores, rivers, and estuaries in the tropics and subtropics. Mangroves are astonishingly tough. Most of them live on muddy soil but some also grow on sand, peat, and coral rocks. They live in water that are up to 100 times saltier than most other plants can.
Why are mangroves important?
- Fisheries: Mangrove forests are home to a large variety of fish, crab, shrimp, and mollusk species. These fisheries form an essential source of food for thousands of coastal communities around the world.
- Timber and Plant Products: Mangrove wood is resistant to rot and insects, making it very valuable. Many coastal and communities rely on this wood for construction material as well as for fuel.
- Coastal Protection: The dense root systems of mangrove forest trap sediments flowing down rivers and off the land. This helps stabilise the coastline and prevents erosion the waves the storms. In areas where mangroves have been cleared, coastal damage from hurricanes and typhoons is much more severe. By filtering out sediments, the forests also protect coral reefs and seagrass meadows from being smothered in sediment.
- Tourism: Given the diversity of life inhabiting mangrove systems, and their proximity in many cases to other tourist attractions such as coral reefs and sandy beaches, it is perhaps surprising that only a few countries have started to tap into the tourism potential of their mangrove forests.
What have humans done to a large percentage of the worlds mangroves? Why have they done this? What impact has this had?
- Clearing: Mangrove forests have often been seen as unproductive and smelly, and so cleared to make room for agriculture land, human settlements and infrastructure (such as harbours)
- River changes:
- Destruction of coral reefs:
- Climate change: