Global Ecological Issues

June 19, 2009
By Rohan Ramnarain BRONZE, Plantation, Florida
Rohan Ramnarain BRONZE, Plantation, Florida
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

The African Honeybee was a genetically engineered type of bee that was created to incorporate genetic material from the African bees into the resident European bees in order to increase honey production per bee. These bees escaped in a freak accident and started to dominate the tropical environment due to their genetically enhanced characteristics.
The voracity of these bees is astounding, and so they pose a great threat to human populations as their presence will increase stinging. The bees may also drain resources and disrupt the normal bee communities in other areas such as Florida, which will surely affection pollination of plants and eventually the food supply for humans. The African Honeybee population is expected to spread quickly throughout Florida and the U.S if it ever makes significant efforts to reproduce.
The Zebra Mussel is a special type of bivalve mollusk native to the freshwaters of southeast Russia and currently in the Great Lakes. These organisms are just as voracious as the bees, eating out nearly all of the plankton in the area and causing widespread famine to other aquatic animals in the area. The mussels use a byssus thread to anchor to hard surfaces and simply clog the rivers, hog all of the phytoplankton, and accumulate rapidly by intense reproduction.
The Zebra Mussels belong in Europe, where many have learned to circumnavigate their destructive characteristics. Species have even evolved in Europe to incorporate the mussels into their diet (an example is the diving duck). More significantly, these mussels accumulate dangerous PCB and PAH pollutants in their tissues and release them in their feces, which can reach a variety of organisms and poison them, including humans.

The giant hogweed, originally from the Caucasus Region, is dangerous to humans because it causes extreme skin inflammations and blisters if the humans are exposed to it. The hogweed contains a certain type of sap that penetrate the epithelial cells in humans and cause cellular death. The chemical in this sap that causes the hogweed to have these effects is called furocoumarin. Furocoumarin can cause blindness in a person’s eyes if even microscopic amounts reach the eye.
After the hogweed was introduced in Britain it established its dominance and now covers many areas around rivers and riverbanks. Their powerful ability to reproduce extensively has erased much of the prior vegetation in the area and has affected animal populations as well. In the United States, Germany, France, and Belgium, the giant hogweed is starting to have an impressive impact as significant as its impact in Great Britain.
Another invasive exotic animal is the American signal crayfish in Switzerland, which, after being discovered in 2001, has become a delicacy of the meats in the area. However, it is a well known carrier of a dangerous fungal disease that can destroy many native species of aqu’atic life and perhaps even other organisms. A biologist known as Gunnar Svardson introduced the crayfish to Sweden and other areas in a very careless manner and eventually the crayfish found its way to Japan and other European nations. The signal crayfish resists the crayfish plague but it can carry this plague to crayfish that would normally not be affected and kill them without killing themselves.
Common ragweed, a native US plant, contains large amounts of pollen, which causes severe hay fever and asthma. Some irresponsibles transported the common ragweed from the US to Europe and Japan, where the ragweed has been known to be extremely invasive and competitive. Often the ragweed will grow in small rotation of grain but tillers in Europe have learned to eradicate this plant by using herbicides, tilling at night, and using excess amounts of clover to stunt the ragweed’s growth. The pollen that the ragweed produces occurs in great amounts, as it is highly promiscuous, and so this is an issue for because the wind can disperse this pollen anywhere and enable it to invade a person’s respiratory system and cause complications such as hay fever or asthma.

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