Measuring the effects of natural events on wildlife

Understanding how wildlife populations are affected by major natural events.

hurricane
hurricane Image: Hokkaido University

Hokkaido University researchers in Japan have came up with an approach that helps scientists understand how wildlife populations are affected by major natural events, such as hurricanes, severe winters, and tsunamis.

Through this, conservationists and ecologists can also predict the effects of outrageous common occasions on species, and to enhance their understandings of how these occasions impact normal choice.

To develop the technique, scientists plotted the arrival times of 27 natural events that happened in the vicinity of 1946 and 2011 against the seriousness of their effect on 50 species. They found that wildlife populaces were not influenced by rare exceptional events as like as they were influenced by more frequent but weaker ones. Events that are frequent, with respect to the life expectancy of a living being, most likely apply a solid determination weight on species to advance protection against them.

Relationship between severity and intensity. The return period was smaller for severity than for intensity up to an intensity return period of 61 years (log10 = 1.8). For less frequent disturbances, the return period of severity was greater than that of intensity. (Iwasaki A. and Noda T., Scientific Reports, January 15, 2018)
Relationship between severity and intensity. The return period was smaller for severity than for intensity up to an intensity return period of 61 years (log10 = 1.8). For less frequent disturbances, the return period of severity was greater than that of intensity. (Iwasaki A. and Noda T., Scientific Reports, January 15, 2018)

Their findings suggest the 2011 tsunami had a relatively small impact, comparable to a Pacific storm in 2006, on inhabitants of Japan’s rocky tidal shoreline, such as mussels, barnacles, and algae.

Takashi Noda of Hokkaido University who led the study said, “This unexpectedly limited impact could be because the tsunami only lasted a few hours. A storm in 2006 off the coast of Tohoku lasting several days has a similar impact on the tidal zone species as the 2011 tsunami. Such storms occur much more frequently than tsunamis.”

Their study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.