Sample Ecology Paper on Natural selection and its role in biodiversity

Natural selection and its’ role in biodiversity

Natural selection contributes in two different ways to biodiversity. It either expands it or decreases biodiversity. Natural selection depends on different organism traits. The science daily news explains the biodiversity of birds where non-native plants in homes endanger wildlife. Urban residents in the United States turned native plants to habitats full of non-native species (Narango & Tallamy, 2018). These non-native plants are easy to maintain and have less toxic to pests. However, the species do not promote insect existence. Insects are a source of food to birds. Therefore, the non-native plants often endanger the life of birds by limiting the number of insects.

In the United States, more than one-third of insectivorous plants wither because of lack of food availability. Non-native plants often have some chemicals in their tissues that put off indigenous insects. The non-native plants are also toxic to indigenous plants. Therefore, the insects cannot feed on any plant without developing adaptation to curb the chemical defense in plant tissues. The study also noted that most of the Americans homeowners’ yards dominated by the non-native plants have fewer caterpillars and predators such as spiders (Narango & Tallamy, 2018). The situation makes it worse for birds that depend on the insects for their young ones and forces the birds to turn to less suitable prey (Narango & Tallamy, 2018). The end results indicated an increase in non-native plants in the yard with a reduced number of birds. The researchers, therefore, recommended the homeowners’ to plant an oak instead of Ginkgo so as to support the growth of more caterpillar species which will lead to an increase in a number of birds. The study is significant as it explains how the non-native plants endanger the life of birds and I agree with the article.

The prairies of North America initially had large pieces of land. The pieces of land were full of towering grass that created ideal nesting and foraging habitat for grassland birds. The same pieces of land were also used for farming row crops and cattle grazing. Today, approximately one percent of the piece of land remains. The declining grassland endangers the life of birds that depended on the plants for food (Nelson, 2018). The rationale behind the recent changes is because of the tall fescue. The researchers associated the cattle forage grass, tall fescue, with nest failure in small grassbirds. Tall fescue is shorter compared to native grasses, therefore it has overtaken and covered the landscape uniformly. The tall fescue accommodates fewer insects, therefore, making food availability difficult for birds (Nelson, 2018). The situation made birds migrate from the landscape in search of feeds. The tall fescue also resulted in nest parasitism by cowbirds. Cowbirds do not build their own nest but occupy other birds nest and breed in them. When dickcissels come back to their nest they produce few eggs because of minimal accommodation space (Nelson, 2018). Therefore, the researchers recommended that the North American should maximize the remaining land to accommodate the species that depend on the plants. The study is substantial as it explains the relative significance of habitat factors influenced by human activities.

Li et al., research attempts to ascertain legume plants may facilitate Zanthoxylum bungeanum tolerance to extreme rainfall. Plants are vulnerable to extreme precipitation, which affects the plant’s physiological processes such as photosynthesis (Li et al., 2018). Extreme rainfall is capable of decreasing photosynthesis, nutrient cycles, and plant productivity. Presence of excess water reduces oxygen supply to plant roots which decreases respiration rates, water absorption, and leads to the closure of stomata (Li et al., 2018). However, plants respond differently to extreme rains.

Human structure impacts plant response to climate change, with plant-plant interactions being a major contributor. Some studies state that legumes facilitate and compete with other species under extreme rainfall (Li et al., 2018). The plant provides organic matter to decomposing microbes that get linked to underground components. The decomposer as well indirectly promotes growth by determining the supply of soil nutrients. Li et al. (2018) assumed that under extreme rainfall, plant species composition will promote absorption of nutrients and photosynthesis. Most plants grow in low nitrogen-rich soil which affects nutrient uptake. The remedy to soil fertility can be achieved by the use of nitrogen-fixing crops and these results to the symbiotic relationship (Li et al., 2018). The study considered the use of Z. bungeanum to improve quality and productivity of plants. However, Z. bungeanum is vulnerable to extreme rainfall but a previous study revealed that under extreme rainfall the nitrogen content in the leaf of Z. bungeanum in a legume culture increased.

The purpose of the study was to explore how Z.bungeanum responds to growth, physiological and biochemical in different intercropping systems under excess rainfall. It was also conducted to assess whether the legume species would alleviate the negative impact of extreme rainfall on Z.bungeanum. The study results indicated that extreme rainfall enhanced the growth and metabolism of Z. bungeanum in intercropping systems (Li et al., 2018). There was a significant increase in oxygen supply and water absorption of the Z. bungeanum whereas there were no significant changes in the antioxidative activities and accumulation of osmoprotectants in the species. The results confirmed the weak resistance potential of Z.bungeanum to extreme rains. However, the intercropping system with G.max impacted positively on the antioxidative functions and physiological processes of Z. bungeanum (Li et al., 2018). The study also indicated that legumes could enhance the tolerance of Z.bungeanum to extreme rainfall. The study provides baseline information on how natural selection can increase or decrease the biodiversity.  The article is significant as it explores the role of natural selection on biodiversity with an in-depth examination of how the biogeochemical cycles and species interactions are important in the organisms’ advantage selection over others.





Li, Z., Pan, K., Tariq, A., Sun, F., Wang, S., Zhang, L., . . . Song, D. (2018). Legume plants may facilitate Zanthoxylum bungeanum tolerance to extreme rainfall. Scientific Reports, 8(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-018-34449-w

Narango D.., & Tallamy D.. (2018, October 23). Biodiversity for the birds. Retrieved from

Nelson, M. (2018, October 19). Invasive forage grass leads to grassland bird decline. Retrieved from