Friday, October 5, 2007

Week 8: Human influences on biogeographic patterns

Hey all,
This is a complex topic and we could spend a long time on it. BUT - the goal here is to round-out our discussion of humans and biogeography by giving examples of not just how patterns in human variation follow biogeographic trends but also how some of the things humans do alter biogeographic patterns in other species. The easiest example here is with the human role in extinction but we certainly have impacts on the distribution, abundance, and rate of spread of a number of species. For example, where would cows be without us? Also, our investments in domesticates create a number of interesting dynamics from the discharge of fertilizers into the ocean to land disturbance causing the spread of some species over others. etc. etc.

The papers for this week are as follows:
*Evans, K. L., and K. J. Gaston. 2005. RESEARCH PAPER: People, energy and avian species richness. Global Ecology and Biogeography 14:187-196.
*Sutherland, W.J. 2003. Parallel extinction risk and global distribution of languages and species. Nature 423: 276-279.
*Lyons, K. S., F. A. Smith, and J. H. Brown. 2004. Of mice, mastodons, and men: human-mediated extinctions on four continents. Evolutionary Ecology Research 6:339-358.
*Surovell - a first proof of his entry entitled "Inter-regional studies/Big game extinctions" for the upcoming Encyclopedia of Archaeology.

We are going to do the reading assignment a bit differently this week because of Fall Break.
For your annotations you should read the Lyons et al (2004) paper and any one of the other three. Basically, your annotation just needs to make it clear that you read at least two papers (the Lyons paper and one other). If you are really interested in overkill (the debated role of human hunting pressure in the disappearance of large game at the end of the Pleistocene) then your second paper should be the Surovell chapter. If you are interested in language read the Sutherland paper. The Evans and Gaston paper speaks to some incredibly cool relationships but is fairly technical with respect to statistics. As always - please spend some time with all the papers - but you only need to focus on two.

I will put a separate post up this weekend about background information for the papers.
Please let me know in an email if there is anything specific you'd like to have defined/explained.


PS - everyone did a great job on Thursday. I think we had an excellent discussion of the McDade and Sherman and Billing papers. Was this because of the interest in the material or because of the coffee!?


Senorita Myra said...

I'm not gonna lie Oskar the coffee and bagels really get the ideas flowing. Thanks again!

Human macroecology admin said...

Cool. so you can bring them next week? sounds good!

Senorita Myra said...

I would like to...but i'm on crutches for a while.....ha ha ha

Steven M. said...

Given that the graphs on 347 plot log(mass) on the x axis, there appears to be a lower threshold for carnivores that went extinct. Observe that in both N. and S. the carnivore extinctions seem to be shifted to the right. This could be just coincidence, but if it isn't then it would indicate that larger carnivores went extinct than other orders. Is this due to the fact that the large carnivores were also eating the large game that went extinct because of the humans?

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