Entries by L O

Mangroves as Flood Protection

Storm damage and floods have increased over the last few years due to a myriad of factors. One of them is increased coastal development. We are quickly removing nature’s natural defenses against storms and floods. Mangroves act as nature’s first defense against storm surges and waves. They also protect estuaries and coastlines from erosion. These […]

What Makes Mangroves Unique?

Many of us probably have never heard of mangroves before. If you are reading this blog post, you are likely not one of those people. Your knowledge of the existence of mangroves is already something that makes you special.    Mangroves are what some ecologists would call a marginal ecosystem. This is because their limits […]

Primary Versus Secondary Forests

Primary forests (or any type of primary habitat) is habitat that has not been modified by humans before. They are the “untouched” patches in the heart of the vast forests. They are not really untouched, but they haven’t been logged before and humans haven’t harmed those forest patches directly. . .yet.    Secondary forests are […]

What Are Ecosystem Services?

Ecosystem services are the direct and indirect benefits ecosystems provide us, humans, with. There are many different kinds of benefits ecosystems provide, it all depends on the ecosystem and how healthy it is. When ecosystems are degraded and damaged they provide us with less benefits.   Let’s look at forests. A forest can provide us […]

Corals Are Keystone Species

Coral reefs are one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. Their closest rivals are tropical rainforests. In each ecosystem there are species who have a larger impact on the ecosystem than other species. They are called keystone species. In coral reefs, as the name suggests, corals are the keystone species.    Stony corals, […]

Coral Bleaching

In our previous post we discussed that corals live in mutualism with phytoplankton. Mutualism is a type of relationship where both partners benefit from the interaction. Phytoplankton are single-celled plants that can be found in all bodies of water. This relationship between the corals and phytoplankton is at the basis of corals bleaching.    Healthy […]

Corals Are Animals

Those beautiful reef landscapes are not what they seem to be. The very cool—but somewhat weird—corals that many of us view as plants, are in fact, not plants! Coral gardens are not the same as underwater flower gardens because corals are animals and can’t photosynthesize. Corals are more like the “Bob the Builders” of reefs. […]

Keystone Species… What Are They?

  Some species are more important than others because they have a disproportionately large impact on their ecosystem. Many charismatic and uncharismatic species alike are keystone species. Corals are a popular one. Mangroves are one too. You might know about sea otters and their positive impact on kelp forests.    Each ecosystem has at least […]

The Phyla of the Animal Kingdom

The number of phyla in the Kingdom Animalia is contested, here we will follow BBC in a really cool article where they cover 35 phyla. This essentially means there are only 35 kinds of animals. Take a moment to think about all the animals you know and I want to bet you that they will only […]

The Kingdoms of Life

Contrary to human kingdoms, these are not ruled by a King. Rather, nature is divided into groups based on their likeness to one another. There are many classification systems of life but I will talk about the main one that is widely accepted across the globe. Life is divided into 2 main groups which are […]