Inbox and Environment news: Issue 572
February 19 - 25 2023: Issue 572
Word Of The Week: Wildlife
1. wild animals collectively; the native fauna (and sometimes flora) of a region. 2. animals that live independently of people, in natural conditions.
Wildlife refers to undomesticated animal species, but has come to include all organisms that grow or live wild in an area without being introduced by humans. Wildlife was also synonymous to game: those birds and mammals that were hunted for sport. Wildlife can be found in all ecosystems. Deserts, plains, grasslands, woodlands, forests, and other areas, including the most developed urban areas, all have distinct forms of wildlife. While the term in popular culture usually refers to animals that are untouched by human factors, most scientists agree that much wildlife is affected by human activities.
Global wildlife populations have decreased by 68% since 1970 as a result of human activity, particularly overconsumption, population growth, habitat destruction and intensive farming, according to a 2020 World Wildlife Fund's Living Planet Report and the Zoological Society of London's Living Planet Index measure, which is further evidence that humans have unleashed a sixth mass extinction event. According to CITES, it has been estimated that annually the international wildlife trade amounts to billions of dollars and it affects hundreds of millions of animal and plant specimen.
The habitat of any given species is considered its preferred area or territory. Many processes associated with human habitation of an area cause loss of this area and decrease the carrying capacity of the land for that species. In many cases these changes in land use cause a patchy break-up of the wild landscape. Agricultural land frequently displays this type of extremely fragmented, or relictual, habitat. Farms sprawl across the landscape with patches of uncleared woodland or forest dotted in-between occasional paddocks.
Examples of habitat destruction include grazing of bushland by farmed animals, changes to natural fire regimes, forest clearing for timber production and wetland draining for city expansion.
All wild populations of living things have many complex intertwining links with other living things around them. Large herbivorous animals such as the hippopotamus have populations of insectivorous birds that feed off the many parasitic insects that grow on the hippo. Should the hippo die out, so too will these groups of birds, leading to further destruction as other species dependent on the birds are affected. Also referred to as a domino effect, this series of chain reactions is by far the most destructive process that can occur in any ecological community.
Another example is the black drongos and the cattle egrets found in India. These birds feed on insects on the back of cattle, which helps to keep them disease-free. Destroying the nesting habitats of these birds would cause a decrease in the cattle population because of the spread of insect-borne diseases.
From wild + life
Compare - Fauna - noun; the animals of a particular region, habitat, or geological period.
From late 18th century: modern Latin application of Fauna, the name of a rural goddess, sister of Faunus. Fauna comes from the name Fauna, a Roman goddess of earth and fertility, the Roman god Faunus, and the related forest spirits called Fauns. All three words are cognates of the name of the Greek god Pan, and panis is the Greek equivalent of fauna.
Originally fauns of Roman mythology were spirits (genii) of rustic places, lesser versions of their chief, the god Faunus. Before their conflation with Greek satyrs, they and Faunus were represented as nude men (e.g. the Barberini Faun). Later fauns became copies of the satyrs of Greek mythology, who themselves were originally shown as part-horse rather than part-goat. By Renaissance times fauns were depicted as bipedal creatures with the horns, legs, and tail of a goat and the head, torso, and arms of a human; they are often depicted with pointed ears. These late-form mythological creatures borrowed their appearance from the satyrs, who in turn borrowed their appearance from the god Pan of the Greek pantheon. They were symbols of peace and fertility, and their Greek chieftain, Silenus, was a minor deity of Greek mythology.
Australian and New Zealand fauna. This image was likely first published in the first edition (1876–1899) of the Nordisk familjebok.
Meet The Stars Of The First Coin Of 2023: CSIRO's Creatures Of The Deep
CSIRO have worked with the Royal Australian Mint (the Mint) to develop their 2023 collector coin program, Creatures of the Deep.
The coin showcases the CSIRO research vessel (RV) Investigator and the deep towed camera technology. It features rarely seen deep sea creatures like gold coral, brittle star and the king crab.
This program continues the Mint’s focus on the natural world. Creatures of the Deep was chosen as the 2023 theme to continue showcasing Australia’s unique flora and fauna.
The coin collection features deep sea creatures discovered during several voyages on RV Investigator along Australia’s southern and eastern coastline.
These voyages of discovery reached some of Australia’s deepest habitats, including the abyss. This is one of the largest and least explored areas on the planet.
Researchers used a deep sea camera developed by us to capture information on environments and life in the deep sea.
The camera can withstand the high pressures of the deep sea environment. When deployed on the RV Investigator, a fibre optic cable is used to relay video and data in real time to scientists on the ship. Impressively, this can be broadcasted from depths of up to 4km deep.
The new coin collection highlights these collaborative research voyages and the significant contribution they’ve made to better understanding life in our oceans.
One of RV Investigator’s recent voyages, Sampling the Abyss, travelled 3500km along Australia’s eastern coastline, studying life in the darkest and deepest parts of the ocean.
This voyage was led by Museums Victoria and supported by CSIRO, National Environmental Science Programme Marine Biodiversity Hub and Parks Australia, as well as Australian and international museums and research institutes.
The other voyages surveyed life and seabed habitats in the deep ocean of the Great Australian Bight and seamounts off the coast of Tasmania. They uncovered many new and fascinating deep-sea species.
Stars of the deep sea
The deep sea creatures showcased as part of the Creatures of the Deep coin program include:
- Blobfish, known for their grumpy and forlorn faces, and crowned the ‘world’s ugliest animal’
- Bigfin squid, known for their large fins and extremely long, slender arm and tentacle filaments. We saw a big fin squid for the first time in Australian waters in 2017, 2km below the ocean surface.
- Gold coral, which are octocorals. They have polyps with eight tentacles used to capture food particles floating in the water
- King crab, which is the largest of the 12 species from Australia. King crabs are adorned with sharp spines to provide protection from predators, and can reach a size of up to 20cm.
- Tripodfish, which prop themselves off the seafloor with stilt-like fins. Tripodfish are hermaphrodites, meaning they have both male and female sexual organs, so don’t need to find a mate.
- Dumbo octopus, which are nicknamed on account of their two fins. These can be large in some species and resemble the ears of Disney’s Dumbo the Flying Elephant. They use their fins and webbed arms to to glide gracefully through the water.
- Brittle star, many of which live on the branches of large coral colonies. This is so they can access drifting food particles. In exchange, the brittle stars keep the coral clean and free of debris.
- Cactus urchins, which occur in groups, perched on coral heads, or on hard, rocky bottoms. They can be short and round, or long and narrow. They are thought to be filter feeders, which extract food from the water.
Blobfish, known for their grumpy and forlorn faces and being the ‘world’s ugliest animal’. Credit: Museums Victoria / Rob Zugaro
Tripodfish: Credit Rob Zugaro, Museums Victoria
Get your hands on a coin
The 2023 ‘C’ Mintmark Gallery Press coin is an Australian legal tender, officially approved by the Currency Determination and minted by the Royal Australian Mint.
If you’re visiting Canberra between 1 January and 31 December 2023, you can press your very own coin at the Royal Australian Mint. This means you’ll have the chance to hold a piece of history in your hands!
And if you’re not able to visit Canberra, you can still get your hands on the rest of the Mintmark suite by purchasing it online from the Royal Australian Mint.
On the other side of these coins, you’ll find an image of Queen Elizabeth II, featuring the dates of her reign from 1952 to 2022.
This Is The Life. Australia And Your Future No 2.: Working Women In 1947
From the Film Australia Collection of the National Film and Sound Archive.
Made by the National Film Board 1947. Directed by Catherine Duncan. This is the Life describes the daily lives of single working women employed in industry in Australia in the 1940s. Young women are shown beginning the day in their homes, then cycling or taking a tram to the Returned Soldiers Mill in Geelong, Victoria - a thriving textile centre. We see them in the mill environment then, work done, enjoying their leisure - dancing, playing sport, hiking and shopping. The film also outlines the pay, sick leave and holiday conditions to which the women are entitled.
Listen Up! COTA NSW State Election Platform; What's Important To You
Fifth COVID-19 Booster Available
- First dose – about 20 million people have had it, according to data from the Department of Health and Aged Care.
- Second dose – about 19.8 million people have gone back for their second dose.
- Third dose – 14.3 million people have had their third dose.
- Fourth dose – 5.4 million people have had a fourth vaccine.
Reablement And Rehabilitation For Australians Living With Dementia In Community Aged Care
Aftercare Interventions For Older People Who Have Self-Harmed: Strengths And Limitations
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
- Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800 (for people aged 5 to 25)
- MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978
- StandBy - Support After Suicide: 1300 727 24
The Report That Urges Cutting Financial Advice Red Tape
AMA Calls For Two Months Of Medicines To Be Dispensed From A Single Script
Can Hearing Loss Be Reversed? Research Reveals Clues That Could Regrow The Cells That Help Us Hear
Driving Inclusive And Green Urban Transitions: The Urban ReLeaf Project
What Makes People Care About The Environment?
Past Records Help To Predict Different Effects Of Future Climate Change On Land And Sea
Stress Levels Sky High For Families Of Neurodiverse Kids: New Research From Curtin University
New Models Shed Light On Life's Origin
Review Strengthens Evidence That Repetitive Head Impacts Can Cause CTE
Cockatoos Know To Bring Along Multiple Tools When They Fish For Cashews
2.9-Million-Year-Old Butchery Site Reopens Case Of Who Made First Stone Tools
Disclaimer: These articles are not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Pittwater Online News or its staff.