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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Ecology Lessons, 1

Ecology Lessons, 1

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Friday, November 25, 2016/Categories: natural history, video, sustainability, environment

                          Mangrove Rootsystems, India  (credit: Wikicommons & the Ocean Portal)

Sometimes a simple demonstration offers the best way to understand the mechanics of science for a natural phenomenon. They have particular use in ecology where ecosystem changes may unfold over different timelines.

One ecological process is especially important to understand considering changes in rising sea levels from climate change. Coastal zones receive protection from waves and storms by diverse eco-mechanisms: dense oyster beds once reduced the action of waves around New York City and the Chesapeake Bay; coral reefs still serve the same function for tropical islands where they survive; seagrass beds and vegetated barrier islands once protected coastal states like Texas and Louisiana; and mangrove forests can prevent beach erosion everywhere the trees grow. All these natural ecosystems are threatened by one destructive situation or another.

The Dutch are particularly interested in controlling the seas from flooding into their low landscape. They have created vast system of dikes to keep out the North Sea. They actively like to help other low-laying countries from their experience. The Deltares Institute in Delft, The Netherlands has created an elegant but simple installation to demonstrate how mangrove trees naturally protect coastlines and beaches from erosion in the tropics. Their ecology installation is being exhibited around Southeast Asia where mangroves are being converted into aquaculture farms and from general coastal developments. Their video demonstrates the effects of this essential ecological process in 12-seconds that any child could understand.

We will showcase other demonstrations of ecology in action as elegant examples become available.



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