Showing posts with label habitat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label habitat. Show all posts

Mice in Madeira

I've been everywhere man - I mean mouse! João Gonçalves Zarco, the Portuguese explorer, thought he had discovered a pristine island untouched by man. However, Madeira had been reached earlier by other people. Mouse move with man and their genetic fingerprint showed that Vikings had got there first.
Madeira mice
Mice began "travelling" with humans when people started storing grain. There is nothing like a free feed to hitch a ride. As grain was moved aboard ship, mice got on too. When a ship reached its destination the mice alighted and started a new colony of their own.

The mice who populated Madeira do not have DNA traces of Portuguese mice. They are related to north eastern European mice. Apparently, viking did not construct any lasting structure on the island. This is also the case in North America where very little evidence has been found of Viking exploration.

Carbon dating of mice skeletons on Madeira show the earliest to be 1,000 years old. This was the high point of Viking wanderings across the globe. Like humans, mice do damage. Their presence is responsible for the extinction of native marine birds - they ate them!
 Genetics by Ty Buchanan 
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Agriculture Disrupts the Ecosystem

Human impact on native flora and fauna is real. There seems to be no way the detrimental affects can be ameliorated. Aboriginals have been in Australia for 40,000 years. apart from the unanswered question about extinction of mega fauna Aboriginals did not alter the external environment at all.

Sedentary agriculture is the major contributing factor to habitat damage. Planting mono-crops seriously changes land features. In Western Australia, for example, water points are located at 50 sq km on average. In its pre-European natural state water holes could be found 2.5 sq km apart. This is serious change with species of native birds declining.

Unless we set areas aside as pristine, protected sectors only introduced pest species will remain. Even without the pest birds, the proportion of native birds is altered. Some die out while others increase in number. The ecosystem is no longer in balance.
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