Ecology is the study of a community of biota, including the interactions with abiotic factors such as soils, water, and meteorological factors. The field of ecology addresses interactions of plants and animals including feeding behavior, selection of nesting or denning sites and competition among species. Time changes are particularly important, such as landscape changes arising from plant succession. Conservation of habitats is analyzed in order to determine the viability of not only individual species, but of the entire assemblage of flora, fauna and micro-organisms in a given ecosystem.
The Cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus, is a vulnerable species within the cat family. While the fastest land animal and an adept hunter, this felid is not agressive...
Sierra Madre Oriental pine-oak forestsLast Updated on 2013-12-12 21:20:37
The Sierra Madre Oriental pine-oak forests contains a very diverse community of endemic and specialized species of plants, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. This ecoregion is classified as an element of the Tropical and Subtropical Coniferous Forests biome. These high mountains run north to south, beginning in the USA and ending in Mexico. The Sierra Madre Oriental pine-oak forests are a highly disjunctive ecoregion, owing to the fact that they are present only at higher elevations, within a region with considerable expanses of lower elevation desert floor.
The variation accumulated in this distance, between its ends and elevation ranges, increases the diversity of habitats and species present. For example, habitats in the north, near Big Bend, Texas are arid or desert-like with the influences of the Chihuahuan Desert; in the south, rainfall increases greatly, creating... More »
GrassesLast Updated on 2013-12-12 15:24:09
The grass family Poaceae (also known as Gramineae) contains approximately 10,000 distinct species and 650 to 900 genera. Only the sunflower (Asteraceae, or Compositae), legume (Fabaceae, or Leguminosae), and orchid (Orchidaceae) families are larger in terms of number of taxa. The grass family has more individual plants and a wider environmental range than does any other family, occupying the geographic limits of vegetation in polar regions and on mountaintops, enduring extremes of cold, sunlight, heat, and drought, while dominating various landscapes worldwide. Grasses are the most successful monocots (seed-bearing plants with single seed leaves), and the most beneficial plants for humankind, providing highly nutritional grains and livestock forage, and preventing soil erosion. Of the five crops that provide almost two-thirds of the food caloric intake that mankind consumes,... More »
Sierra Madre Occidental pine-oak forestsLast Updated on 2013-12-12 15:19:32
The Sierra Madre Occidental pine-oak forests ecoregion boasts some of the richest biodiversity anywhere in North America, and contains about two thirds of the standing timber in Mexico. Twenty-three different species of pine and about 200 species of oak reside within the Sierra Madre Occidental pine-oak forests ecoregion. Many distinctive species have evolved here as a result of the landforms, altitude, temperature and rainfall. However, over-harvesting of the forests in this area since the early part of this century has caused the extinction of the imperial woodpecker (the largest woodpecker on Earth) and has lead to the likelihood of several other species becoming extinct in this ecoregion, such as the Mexican gray wolf. Currently, all but 300,000 acres, or about two percent, of the original old-growth forest is gone.
This ecoregion occurs disjunctively along the Sierra Madre... More »
Chihuahuan DesertLast Updated on 2013-12-06 23:07:07The Chihuahuan Desert encompasses one of the most biologically diverse arid regions on Earth. This ecoregion extends from within the United States south into Mexico. This desert is unique, as it has been sheltered from the influence of other arid regions such as the Sonoran Desert by the large mountain ranges of the Sierra Madres. This isolation has allowed the evolution of many endemic species; most notable is the high number of endemic plants; in fact, there are a total of 653 vertebrate taxa recorded in the Chihuahuan Desert. Moreover, this ecoregion also sustains some of the last extant populations of Mexican Prairie Dog, wild American Bison and Pronghorn Antelope.
Severe conservation pressures are on the Chihuahuan Desert. On the Mexico side, there are destructive activities from illegal poaching, habitat destruction from illegal drug trafficking and large scale movements of... More »
Sonoran DesertLast Updated on 2013-12-06 15:53:38The Sonoran Desert covers approximately 200,000 square miles (520,000 square kilometers), including about 100,000 square miles of land, and often defined to also cover around 100,000 square miles of sea; moreover, the Sonoran comprises much of the state of Sonora, Mexico, most of the southern half of the USA states of Arizona, southeastern California, most of the Baja California peninsula, and the numerous islands of the Gulf of California. Its southern third straddles 30° north latitude and is a horse latitudeA horse latitude is a subtropical latitude between 30 and 35 degrees both north and south. desert; the rest is rainshadow desert. It is lush in comparison to most other deserts. There is a moderate diversity of faunal organisms present, with 550 distinct vertebrate species having been recorded here.
The Sonoran Desert can be divided into seven subdivisions based on... More »
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