Friday, 12 April 2013

The Silent Spring.

After a false start - there was a sunny day two weeks ago - Spring seems no nearer than it was three months ago. This has been the longest, dullest, and coldest winter I can remember. The most worrying thing of all is that we are in the middle of April, and there is no dawn chorus as such. A few birds are chirping, but nothing like what we would usually hear. Something is very wrong this year, and as I have speculated previously, I think we are seeing the effects of localised climate change.

There are two categories of species: r & k.

The former, which includes rodents and insects, are highly adaptable. They have relatively short life-spans, short gestation periods, and produce lots of offspring very quickly. Insects are particularly adaptable, and can produce sub-species to cope with major environmental change in just a few generations. When the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs hit Earth, lice would have had no long term worries.

The dinosaurs, however, being k species stood no chance. k species evolve strictly to cope with their environment. Population levels are always at or very close to carrying capacity. Environmental change poses a major threat to them. They reproduce relatively late in life, have long gestation periods, and have few offspring. They simply have not evolved to cope with environmental change.

Birds are k species. Perhaps this explains what happened to the dawn chorus.

We are also k species by the way. Think about it......

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