Re: NANFA-- Re: TRADING POST

Dave Neely (rheopresbe_at_hotmail.com)
Fri, 05 Nov 1999 16:04:31 CST

Luke,

>...Each species impacts its' environment in
>both positive and negative ways. The negative is eventually >curtailed
>enough to allow a species to achieve a balance and achieve >it's realized
>niche...but if the impact is too detrimental, you have >extinction or at
>least a serious decline in the species' >population... happened before and
>will happen again. It's part of
>evolutionary theory.

Wow, never thought I'd hear <you> talking about evolutionary theory.
However, your Eltonian perspective of the niche is not that held by most
contemporary ecologists (for a good read and a bit more background, try Real
and Brown, 1991, Foundations of Ecology, University of Chicago Press. The pb
version is cheap.)

>>If you really want to do something to protect
>>species, *protect their habitats* and promote
>>their cause through educational programs. That's
>>all you have to do.

>Nope, no way! If that's so, so many of the species that have been
>protected should be recovering by now.

Oh, I guess you are referring to our fine system of freshwater wilderness
reserves, standing guard over biodiversity. Ha! Most protective efforts to
date have been post-hoc (uh oh, this thing is in dire straits, lets keep
people from building a dam on the last population). Have you ever heard of
extinction vortices? The basic theory is this- when you make enough
seemingly minor perturbations to a system, it reaches a threshold beyond
which recovery is doggone near impossible. The CA Condor is there now, as is
the MD darter (if it isn't gone already). What we've done is throw money at
the "cute fuzzies" and ignore the taxa and systems that really need help.

>...Oh balderdash! If that's so, why are captive reared fish being >used
>all over the world to restock restored habitat? You can't >erase genetic
>programming by simply doing captive rearing for a few >generations

Wanna bet? ;) Think about the countless millions of inbred pseudo-rainbow
trout that get dumped all over this country every year as part of
put-and-take "fisheries." How come they don't establish reproducing
populations everywhere?! And besides, captive-bred fish AREN'T being used
to that end "all over the world" - in most cases, hatcheries are being used
to dump reject fish in to satiate unscrupulous sport fisherman.

NOTE: This does NOT mean I'm opposed to recreational fishing- my undergrad
GPA reflected the 200+ days a year that I was out fishing- but folks could
be a lot more appreciative of native taxa- like fallfish ;)

>...if that is what evolves, why is that any more 'wrong' than any other
>selective process in nature? I don't >want what you have forecasted. I
>enjoy diversity and nature and >that's why I am at least willing to TRY to
>find as many solutions as >possible.

Some solutions just aren't appropriate - the idea of sealing a leaky
radiator hose with duct tape might sound good in theory, but when you
actually do it, it blows out.

>And I think it's gone beyond worrying about risks for some species at
>this point. We know some will be gone if we do nothing. Let's at >least
>examine all the possibilities and stop worrying over 'ghosts >in the
>closet'.

They aren't ghosts. They've got sharp teeth. And they'll bite you in your
wallet. The only reason introduced species are making headlines now is
because business are finally seeing some of the economic costs associated
with them.

>>And I donít understand why youíre so enthused on
>>bashing scientists. Many of them can be difficult
>>and even arrogant, but there is a method to their
>>madness and I have tremendous respect for it.

>I'm not bashing scientist...I'm bashing bastions of arrogance. I >see it
>every day. Few scientist can agree on anything and for one >opinion there
>is at least a dozen dissenting ones and the facade >that science is one all
>homogenous mix is a outright deception. Too >many are too busy protecting
>their "turf" and competing with the >next for recognition. Scientist come
>in all shapes and sizes and >levels of expertise and skill. I am a
>scientist and so are you. My >27 years of keeping fishes gives me an
>important level of knowlege >on the subject and yet that experience is
>dismissed all too often by >arrogant people with "BS,MA or PHD" behind
>their titles who don't >know a guppy from a goldfish. Yes, arrogant
>scientist are worthy of >a good bash once in awhile. It doesn't hurt to
>stir things up and >get tired minds flowing with new ideas either.

Like it or not, that's part of the way science works. That's also a pretty
apt description of people in general- but I will say folks who are into
organismal biology CERTAINLY aren't into it for fame or fortune. You're
trying to build ivory towers that just aren't there - as a whole, I've never
met a more affable group of folks than biologists...

>A 'sheepskin' does not an articulate person make...visit a library.

Don't go throwing stones in glass houses- your own posts haven't been
intellectual wonders...

Cheers,
Dave

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