Friday, November 5, 2010

Endemic Species

Our biology background accentuates our interest in Australia's unique flora and fauna.  Australia's unique geology and remoteness from other land masses creates spectacular diversity.  83% of mammals, 89% of reptiles, 90% of fish and insects and 93% of amphibians that inhabit the continent are endemic to Australia.

Endemism is an ecological term for being unique to a specific geographic area.  The marsupials in Australia are a good example, but the biodiversity extends to plants and tiny insects.

The unique wildlife of Australia is particularly vulnerable to introduced species.  Some examples are dingos, rabbits, camels, and cane toads.  Many species were introduced by well-intentioned, but misguided people.

We've been watching "Border Security," a t.v. show that explores Australian customs and quarantine.  When we arrived in Australia, we were sniffed by customs dogs.  Customs is very careful about allowing food products into the country.  Quarantine efforts even extend inter-state, we were sniffed again when we arrived in Tasmania!

It's been fun learning about the unique Australian biodiversity and the governmental attempts to protect it.  Over the next few days, we'll be updating the viewed species lists in the right sidebar to indicate endemic species (e).

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