Ecology is defined by the Oxford dictionary as the scientific study of the interactions among organisms and their environment. It is basically an all-encompassing thing really, as it deems to seek the way of how things can live with each other and also the interaction they have with their environment. It is generally a study of the whole of the earth in general and life itself in particular as it also tries to explain subtly, how even the smallest and simplest of organisms can affect everything.
Take for example the lowly bees. Most of us generally just take them for granted and they even almost always get our undeserved ire, the moments we come in close contact with them. Little do we know that they are in fact, very vital cogs in the ecosystem that without them, life for us humans would be very different or worse non-existent.
Bees do the pollinating of most of our plants and pollination is the way plants reproduce. If plants are not allowed to reproduce, then they die and they become extinct. When plants go extinct, then the animal that eats them exclusively eventually does too and the cycle continues, like dominoes falling one after the other. We humans are not exempted from it as we are sort of like on the top of the food chain and whatever happens on the bottom surely will affect whoever it is on the top.
Another example is the problems that may occur when species that is native to one location is introduced to a new location. The species in question may die in his new environment if he is unable to adapt to it, or may eventually be the cause of the destruction of his new home, probably because he has tipped the delicate balance of the ecosystem that is already present there.
The Cory Catfish is one such creature that happens to be somewhat of a bane in some of the ecosystems that he is currently in. These catfishes are tropical fresh water fishes that are native to South America. They are quite small at about six centimeters long from head to tail but are known to get much bigger in their native habitat. They belong to the Callichthyidae family of armored catfishes and are generally bottom feeders, contented to feed from scraps of food that trickles from the surface.
Cory Catfishes, because of their size and bottom cleaning ways, are currently a hit with aquarium keepers. They keep about two to three of them in each tank to help keep the aquarium generally clean and they are very hardy fishes with a lifespan of about three to five years, longer when they are out in the wild.
The problem with them is when the aquarium keeper loses interest with his fishes. He may thought it will be well meaning and good for the fishes if he just releases them in the nearest lake or pond, little does he know that what he is doing is harmful to the environment. Cory Catfish are invasive species and takes over any area they are in so long as it’s freshwater. They breed relentlessly and choke out native fishes from their new area taking it as their own. It is very hard eradicating such unwanted infestation and no common catfish bait will work when they have already established themselves in an area.
There are still lots from where these examples came from and every one of them needs our attention badly. We should start minding ecology and not just bandy it around, waiting for the time it eventually affects us. Because when our time really does come, it may probably be too late.
Published: August 10, 2013