Monday, February 10, 2020

Role of geography in shaping life and evolution Essay

Role of geography in shaping life and evolution - Essay Example Geography as a discipline refers to the study â€Å"variations in phenomena from place to place† and explains the spatial features of a place (including climate, topology, land and water elements) that distinguishes it from other places (Holt-Jensen, 2009:9). The influence of a land’s geographical characteristics and the life forms that develop therein have been commonly known in a general way, in the manner that polar bears are known to inhabit glacial areas and elephants are known to naturally thrive in Africa and Asia. There is a need, though, to more profoundly appreciate the impact of geography to the development of animal and plant life, and vice versa, in order to effectively address sustainability. Biogeography involves the junction among biology, geography and history – that is, a merging of the study of the distribution of a species in location and time. Many authors have cited a host of factors that affect the evolution of life forms through time in re lation to geography: speciation, extinction, continental drift; glaciation and changes in water forms; landmass areas and isolation; available energy supplies; adaptation, and adaptive radiation Schluter (2000). Adaptation and adaptive radiation are closely related, but not the same. ... There are several links that may be drawn between biology and geography. The spatial attributes transcend the mere physical characteristics but also impact upon the subtle changes in the chemical constitution of the place. A causal link has been established, for instance, between the calcium levels of a place and the clutch size of birds and other life history traits. This is a relatively new finding, in that avian clutch size (i.e., the number of eggs/ nestlings produced by one female at one time) used to be linked only to food availability, predation and seasonality. It was found, however, that active females consume supplemental calcium during the breeding season and throughout egg formation, which they do not otherwise do during the off-season. This tends to support the observation that calcium availability is a factor that limits reproduction (Patten, 2007). A similar development is the change in the permafrost caused by the interaction between atmosphere, and snow cover in plac es such as the Swiss Alps, that impact upon the life cycles and survival prospects of snow-bound species (Luetschg & Haeberli, 2005). Biogeography has been described as â€Å"a science that is not only about islands but about the whole fabric of the natural world† (Kanigel, 1996). This definition appears to separate â€Å"man-made† from nature, that anything man-made upsets the natural balance. If that were held to be true, then the very existence of man would be unacceptable. The alternative position should therefore admit the viability of the anima urbis, or the role of nature in defining human-animal relations in the context of city life. There has been a resurgence of interest in exploring animals and the urban moral

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