Sunday, June 1, 2014

My Year of Darwin 6/1/2014: The problem of introduced predators: yup, Darwin saw it coming

  Charles Darwin

"We may infer from these facts, what havoc the introduction of any new beast of prey must cause in a country, before the instincts of the indigenous inhabitants have become adapted to the stranger's craft or power." Charles Darwin, Voyage of the Beagle

Poot! As they like to say in the South: I missed a day. So it goes. I was up at the combined Association of Field Ornithologists and Wilson Ornithological Society meeting in Newport Rhode Island. Forgive me. I always think that I will have some downtime but I never do. I think I did as a students when I was afraid to talk to people. What a dope.  I'll try to summarize the meeting tomorrow.
Back to Darwin. He spends a number of paragraphs pointing out the naivety of island birds even those with more wary relatives on the mainland. 
He was, yet again, right.  And there is case after depressing case of introduced predators (and pathogens) having negative consequences for native species, particularly on islands. Most recent extinctions of birds have been the result of introductions with predators (and pathogens).  Cats and rats are the primarily culprits. 

More tomorrow.. 6 hours of driving... I'm whooped. 

No comments:

Post a Comment