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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Various habitats, Boone, North Carolina, USA

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Various habitats, Boone, North Carolina, USA
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Registered: March 2022
City/Town/Province: Boone
Posts: 1
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As Earth’s human population increases by the billions over the next few decades, habitat loss will continue to occur at an alarming rate, adding to the issues we’re seeing more and more with climate change. Animals that rely on our forestlands and water resources to survive and breed will slowly begin to die out, since there will be nowhere left for them to go. As habitats are lost to development or conversion to agriculture to grow more food to feed more people, more species disappear, and food chains will start being affected. This will eventually impact us humans tremendously. Due to better technology to monitor species and new studies on biodiversity loss coming to light, the conservation of threatened and endangered species is becoming very important since time is running out for many species. The field of conservation biology is often called a “crisis discipline” for this reason.
Habitat loss and its impacts can be seen in my backyard. I worked with a biology professor at Appalachian State to collect data on three species of salamanders. The goal was to monitor the larvae of these species and one frog species on how they are adapting to pond water. North Carolina has over 50 different species of salamanders and one of the highest amphibian diversities in the world. At least for now. This makes the western part of NC the perfect place to study this type of wildlife as amphibians are considered the canaries in the coal mine for climate change. Small changes impact them first.
Over the last few decades, land conversion and climate change have had massive impacts on animal species across the Appalachians. Habitats are being reduced and species are getting pushed out. The NC Wildlife Commission keeps the location of bog turtles secret because a lot of their historic habitat was drained or converted, and pet traders hunted them as well. Average increases in temperature have changed migration patterns. Certain species of birds have moved to different areas from where they were used to thriving. If the earth’s temperatures continue to rise and change, more species will be impacted.
My over-arching goal is to have a career in sustaining and conserving wildlife, because I have been around it for most of my life. For three summers, I went to Herpetology Experience Week at Camp Chestnut Ridge in Efland. It’s one of the only two herpetology camps in the United States. For five days, the objective of camp was to do what I and very few people enjoy in their free time… to go out in the woods and look for herps. During the week, each day was focused on a particular type of reptile and amphibian. Monday would be frog day, Tuesday would be salamander day, and so forth, with snakes and other reptiles & amphibians. I attended this camp for three years, and every year there was always one specific find that made it unforgettable. The ‘biggest’ find that we found over the last three years was actually a very small Mole Kingsnake. That particular species hasn’t been found in that area in many years, and we were the first to find one in that area. Due to climate change and habitat loss in that area, the Mole Kingsnake population has plummeted and was only southwest of the camp. Since we found one in the camp area, however, we were able to figure out that the species was slowly making a comeback due to the man-made coverboards that we place throughout the camp. Since then, several more Mole Kingsnakes have been found in that area.
Date: March 25, 2022 Views: 1403 File size: 149.3kb, 3211.1kb : 1712 x 1125
Hours Volunteered: 60
Volunteers: 3
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17
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