Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Balancing Act

I have a good friend (the Captain) that is a firm believer in the balance of nature hypothesis. The theory is; the forces of nature attempt to create equilibrium in an ecosystem. Many modern day Ecologists no longer believe that a balance of nature exists because of man’s disruption of these ecosystems.

The Captain states “If the Fishies and Frogies in Florida are happy, Florida will have a mild hurricane season.”

What makes those “Fishies and Frogies” happy? It’s a simple question with a simple answer. Food! In Ecology 101 we learned about the food chain, the predator/prey relationship and how it affects an ecosystem.

To sustain life you must have water. More water equals more food for the lower members of the food chain.

Florida has had more rain, this year, than usual during the Spring and early Summer. Central Florida had a lot more rain than normal, therefore less than customary brush fires and no need for a Hurricane to batter the coastal areas of the State on its way to make the “Fishies and Frogies” in Central Florida happy.

When looking at our back yard as a microcosm of an ecosystem, I have seen this theory play out. We had a lot of rain during the months of March through July. About 18 inches (of rain) above the normal average during that period.

First of all there are more insects (both the flying variety and crawling variety). Therefore there are more lizards; the Anole and Gecko populations have at least doubled since last summer. More tree frogs (who tend to sing with joy at 0500 hours). More birds (a new family of Blue Jays and a new family of Cardinals have moved into the yard).

In addition we have two new families of snakes (Black Racers). We had a family of Armadillos (I didn’t know that they were indigenous to Florida) earlier this year, but my daughter put Moth Balls around the perimeter of the yard to keep them from digging up the ground.

The Mole, Squirrel and rodent population is down thanks to the snakes.

The bottom line is that we have no Fishies in the back yard, but the Frogies are very happy this year. There must have been a lot of unhappy Frogies in Texas.

The Beach Bum

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