Tuesday, October 26, 2010

: #Plant #biodiversity and animal species decline - #bats #bees #fungus #infection #plants #gmo #pesticides

Here are some notes that emerged from weekend discussion of bee hive
collape. It appears that the collapse results directly from a paired
virus and fungus, and further research is clearly indicated in order
to prevent collapse of valuable bee colonies, which are also crucial
to the ecosystem and human food production. Personally, I intend to
look further into the viral mechanism, but there is already something
that I can say about this, and about the fungus as well. Plant
biodiversity loss can result directly in an upsurge in viral and
fungal infections in animal populations.

I was disturbed to learn this morning from
http://action.biologicaldiversity.org/ that eastern bats are also
suffering a decline which may prove catastrophic, and that this
decline is the result of an emergent fungal infection. We need to
remember that a wide range of plants provide flavonoids and other
molecules which have been demostrated to impede fungal and viral
infections. When plant biodiversity declines, one can expect an
upsurge in such infections. This is observable in human populations
as well. When adequate consumption of fruits and vegetables decline,
an increase in disease and infection is observed.

In researching declines in animal population, it is of concern that
the agent which prevented infections may be endangered itself, so that
the connection is difficult to observe, but it is crucial that we
observe it and prevent species and biodiversity collapse. In fact, we
may indeed be preventing the collapse of our very own species.
Clearly, addressing the problem of climate change and global warming,
will help us to preserve ourselves by protecting the ecosystem and
biodiversity that we depend upon for our very survival. Bee colony
collapse provides an elegant example of this fact, since we require
bee pollenation for so much of our food production. It should be
noted that bat pollenation is required for many species of plants.

The conclusion is obvious. The observation of viral and fungal
pathogens in species collapse is an argument for biodiversity, not
against it. Moreover, plant biodiversity has not received the
attention that it deserves, but if we do not address it, loss of plant
biodiversity may become a species-level threat for humans as well. We
need to look far more carefully at the use of pesticides and
genetically modified organisms in light of these facts. Biodiversity
loss has already been observed in some areas where such measures have
been deployed.

In an age of climate change and global warming we must give more
attention to plant biodiversity, for it is the plants that are best
suited to repair the damage from accumulation of greenhouse gases in
the atmosphere. Moreover, it is now becoming quite evident that life
itself depends on plant diversity for protection from various
infections and other maladies.


BTW, if you want to take action on the situation with the bats, here
is the link. It is a wonderful halloween activity!

For Bats, the Future Is Spooky

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