Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Brown Tree Snake Alters Guam Ecosystem

Now that the introduced brown tree snake has “caused the extinction of nearly every [i.e., 10 of 12] native bird species on the Pacific Island of Guam,” what do the snakes—with a density “estimated at more than 3,000 per square mile”—eat? Whatever the answer to that question might be, there is no doubt that they have had a profound and irreversible impact on the ecosystem. As described here, that impact extends to the composition and physiognomy of the native forest, to wit:
But the biggest indirect impact, she [i.e., Haldre Rogers, a University of Washington graduate student in biology] said, could be altered seed scattering that in turn might, in the near future, transform the remaining forest from a diverse mixture of tree species to clumps of trees of the same species, separated by open space. That could have serious consequences, including extinction, for plant and animal species that still live in the forest.

2 Comments:

Anonymous John Tittle said...

Since you visited our blog I thought I would check out yours. You are a lot more focused than we are.
I'm just a person who likes to be outside with a very old, dusty degree in Geology. My blog started because I was trying to get a couple of friends to share their considerable knowledge with other people.
Its funny that right after you commented on our blog Bruce would relate a strange bird observation - a leopard frog trying to catch a humming bird. He posted a photo of the frog, but not the bird.
Have you ever heard of anything like that?
Thanks for visiting us at our blog. I'll check back here from time to time. I enjoyed the quick browse I did of your entries.
John Tittle

August 20, 2008 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Harold said...

Its frightening how vulnerable island eco-systems are to single species invaders like this snake or various rat species. The islands of the pacific have been devasted .

An interesting post, thanks

August 21, 2008 9:08 AM  

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