One of the greatest ecological impacts of humans
General introduction and background: One of the greatest ecological impacts of humans, for thousands of years, has been the introduction of novel species into new geographical areas. For example, House sparrows, introduced in the US by both farming and civic groups in the 19th century, are also called English sparrows, though they were most likely accidentally introduced into the islands of what became Great Britain by Romans a couple thousand years earlier. For this essay you will explore the biology and ecological, evolutionary economic and social impact (not all of those categories will be able to apply to your species, one or two is enough) of a non-native species in New York State. Ecological changes include changes in population size, geographic range, in native or economically important species. Evolutionary changes include genetic changes in behavior, form or physiology in response to the new species, or changes in the introduced species itself. Your objective in developing this essay: Write a full two-page essay (three page maximum), not including bibliography, focusing on the question of how a single species is affecting local plants, animals, or people. Topics can include: Species being consumed by introduced species Species being outcompeted by introduced species Extinction risk faced by local species due to the newly introduced species Food plants or animals affected by the introduced species Cost of control of the introduced species Did an initially invasive species integrate into local communities and landscapes? How long did it take? Was its impact lessened, or do we just no longer see the species it displaced? Developing your topic: Invasion biology is a lively and sometimes contentious field. I have uploaded a series of papers by Dan Simberloff, Scott Carroll, and other in a recent exchange in the journal “Trends in Ecology and Evolution” that highlight to philosophical and social implications of how we both study and label invasive species. Select only one of the above topics to explore, or choose another with the help (and go-ahead) of your instructor, and focus on one or two examples (species). If you are fortunate, you may find some “primary” literature, which is an article appearing in an edited journal, where the article has been “peer reviewed.” Google Scholar is a good place to start, but be careful because it picks up both peer-reviewed and non-peer reviewed literature. Web of Science (qc library\databases) is the search engine used by most organismal biologists to search the primary literature. Be careful in your use of websites and the information they contain, as many are not reliable and even-handed, particularly with sensitive issues. Questions to address when reading primary literature: 1) Is this an experimental or theoretical (modeling) study a. If it’s a model, how reasonable or well founded are the assumptions? b. How might adding an experiment help? 2) Is this documenting a change that has happened or predicting a change? a. What might be an alternative explanation for any change? Developing the story for your essay: Look over the “rubric” that is posted to Blackboard and use it as a guide as to how the essay will be graded. The essay is to be written in grammatically correct English, with complete sentences, proper punctuation and correct spelling. Be sure to use your word processor’s spell and grammar checker. In the first paragraph, briefly introduce and describe the issue of primary concern, in this case, the potential climate effect. This should be followed by a brief description of your species; its biology and ecological role, perhaps its notoriety as a pest or beneficial organism. Develop your thoughts logically and lead to a clear statement of your conclusions. The essay, being of limited length, should develop and tell a story while being concise. Have the article’s authors presented ideas or hypotheses relevant to the particular situation you are exploring? Are there conflicts of opinion expressed by different authors? Do not be repetitive! Remember to cite references within the text (See below). Be careful not to plagiarize (Follow the guidelines of the file “How to use outside literature” on Blackboard. Technical details in preparing the essay: Write a minimum of two full-pages (maximum of three pages) excluding references. • References are cited, using proper formatting, within the text as appropriate and that same reference must be fully cited on a separate page titled “References Cited.” (See below). • The essay is to be printed in 12 point Times or New Times Roman font, double-spaced, on standard 8.5” X 11” paper. Margins are to be 1” (top, bottom and sides). • Place your name, the title (write only “Essay #1”), lab section code and due date on a single, uppermost line of the first page, then skip one line and begin your essay. Number your pages and place one staple in the upper left corner. Do not prepare a separate cover page or use a folder or plastic cover. TOPIC: Honey Bees
The introduction of non-native species to new areas has been a significant ecological impact of humans for thousands of years. Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are one such species that have been introduced to various parts of the world, including New York State. These bees are important pollinators for many plant species, including crops, and play a crucial role in the ecosystem. However, the introduction of honey bees to New York State has also had some unintended consequences, both positive and negative. This essay will explore the biological and ecological impact of honey bees in New York State, including their effect on native species and their economic and social impact.
Honey bees have a significant impact on the ecological systems of New York State. As pollinators, they are responsible for the reproduction of many plant species, including crops. This contribution has made them essential to agriculture and has led to their intentional introduction to various parts of the world. Honey bees are also known to compete with native bees and other pollinators for resources, leading to a decrease in their populations. Additionally, honey bees may also be responsible for the spread of non-native plant species, as they are known to visit and pollinate invasive plants.
The introduction of honey bees to New York State has had an evolutionary impact on both the bees themselves and the native species. The bees have adapted to the new environment, and there have been genetic changes in their behavior, form, and physiology. For example, some studies have shown that honey bees in urban areas have developed larger body sizes than their rural counterparts, which may be a result of their exposure to higher levels of pollution. The introduction of honey bees may also have led to the displacement of some native pollinators, which may have had an impact on their evolutionary trajectory.
Economic and Social Impact:
Honey bees have significant economic and social impacts on New York State. As mentioned earlier, they are essential pollinators for many crops, including almonds, blueberries, and apples, which contribute significantly to the state’s economy. The honey industry, too, contributes to the economy, and the sale of honey and honey-related products generates significant revenue. Additionally, honey bees are culturally significant, and beekeeping has become a popular hobby for many people.
In conclusion, the introduction of honey bees to New York State has had a significant impact on the ecological, evolutionary, economic, and social systems. While their importance as pollinators and contributors to the economy cannot be understated, their introduction has also had unintended consequences, such as competition with native pollinators and the spread of invasive plant species. It is essential to consider both the positive and negative impacts of introducing non-native species to new areas and to manage them appropriately to minimize their negative impact while maximizing their benefits.
Brosi, B. J., & Briggs, H. M. (2013). Single pollinator species losses reduce floral fidelity and plant reproductive function. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(33), 13044-13048.
Couvillon, M. J., Schurch, R., Ratnieks, F. L., & Beekman, M. (2014). Honey bee foraging distance depends on month and forage type. Apidologie, 45(4), 436-445.
Goulson, D. (2010). Bumblebees: Behaviour, ecology, and conservation. Oxford University Press.
New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. (2021). Honey Bees. Retrieved from https://www.agriculture.ny.gov/AD/release.asp?ReleaseID=3239.