A functional ecology class coupled with my microbiology class has opened my eyes to see nature as an art form. Through detailed instruction, I’ve grown to appreciate the beauty of nature, paying close attention to the remarkable order and efficiency of an ecosystem. In the upper level ecology course, we analyze how features of different organisms maximize the species fitness. In the microbiology class, we analyze how microbes enhance or inhibit them from doing so. Organisms operate with impressive strategy. Virtually every component of an organism has an critical purpose to enhance its survival of the whole.
When one organism is removed from its habitat, its effect ripples through the entire community. For example, in 1995, wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park. Since their arrival, the ecology of the park changed immensely. Deer populations began to occupy only in selected areas of the park. Because there were fewer deer in some areas, there was less herbivory, permitting growth of plant life. With blooming plant life, different species of birds arose in the areas as they feed on these new plant species. Various carnivores and scavengers increased in numbers as wolves left the carcasses of prey on which these creatures could feed. In conclusion, the effect of one animal is incredible. Together, all organisms have a critical role in order to create a seamlessly functioning ecosystem.
The featured photo was extracted from one of my lecture slides. It looks like an art palette!