|MadSci Network: Environment & Ecology|
Chris, You ask what the results would be if a spiecies goes extinct. Would this be good or bad for the ecosystem? You ask a very complicated question. An extinction of a species means that this group of organisms are gone forever. Each organism effects all other organisms in an ecosystem, thus the removal of a species will deffinatly effect the others. Usually this is not a "good" thing. A classic example are the deers living near the Grand Canyon. Many years ago it was thought that if people removed all the wolves in the area there would be fewer problems with loss of farm animals. So hunters went out and killed all the local wolves. Causing a local extinction of the wolf population. Since wolves also eat deer and there were no more wolves, the deer population exploded. There were many more deer in the area then ever before. Deer eat grass. Since there were so many deer they ate up all the grass in the area. When all the grass was gone the deer began to starve to death. Soon there were no more deer. So, by removeing the local preditor, the wolves, another population almost went extint. This example shows us that each member of the ecosystem effects other members of the ecosytem. If the system is working any change to that system is likley to harm it. I hope this answer helps you understand a very complicated area of biology. Steven Korenstein Environmental Health Specialist
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