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South West Australia Hotspot University College Environmental Science COL 260 (Project) Student 1: Salma Al Hajeri - ID:

200815973 Student 2: Maryam Mohamed - ID: 200623612 Student 3: Sara Al Zaabi - ID: 200881173 Due Date: 13th/ Dec/ 2011 Presented by: Dr. Tofi Rahal

The project is about biodiversity South West Australia hotspot. South West Australia is one of the five Mediterranean types of ecology in the world, because most rain occurs in winters while in the summers are dry season. In this project, the discussion will be on explanation of South West biodiversity hotspot and its size, location, and climatic conditions. In addition, the major causes and threats of extinction in this hotspot, and solutions and conservation measures to protect this biodiversity hotspot. Furthermore, explanation of species lost and its endemic species, and lists of two endemic species with their scientific names in South West Australia.

What a biodiversity hotspot is? Biodiversity hotspots are areas that support natural ecosystems that where native species and communities associated with these ecosystems are well represented. Furthermore, biodiversity hotspots are also areas that have more diversity of endemic species which are rarely found outside the hotspot. Why we chosen Southwest Australia Hotspot? Our group chosen Southwest Australia Hotspot because it has many facts such as spending $36 million by the Southwest Australia government to create Maintaining Australia's Biodiversity Hotspots Program. Which is new program for protecting the Southwest Australia hotspot. Further, South West Australia is one of the top 34 biodiversity hotspots of the world that includes 10 regions rang from the northern sand plain heaths to the Swan coastal plains. In addition to that, the Australian government identified 15 national biodiversity hotspots and 8 of them are in Western Australia. We also chose this hotspot because plants and animals species are rare and endangered giving the hotspot Eco-region the highest concentration of endangered species on the continent.inn addition, there are also more than 4100 species of plants and animals species in South West Australia biodiversity hotspot and some species are still discovering in the region. About Southwest Australia Hotspot. The size of South West Australia hotspot is about 356,717 km2 in the state of Western Australia. This biodiversity hotspot includes the Southwest Botanical Province and it is one of the five Mediterranean-type ecosystems in the world. In the winter months, this hotspot become full of rain, while in the summers area become dry. On the other hand, Southwest Australia is one of the five Mediterranean biomes that have high levels of biodiversity that are threatened speedily from population growth. The Ecoregion has recognized that this biome in one of 34 biodiversity hotspots. Southwest Australia Hotspot and climate change. The climate of south-west Western Australia enjoys a Mediterranean climate is hot dry summers, mild and wet ,but sunny winters and rainy. Moreover, heat waves, floods; drought and cyclone landfalls are rare. The average rainfall ranges from 800mm to 1200mm annually, and it occurs between July and November. During the time from 1950 to 2011, the climate has been changed in Southwest Australia. While Australian continent has experienced less rainfall and warmer temperatures, the main characteristics of the climate stay unchanged. Climate change in Southwest Australia occurred due to increased greenhouse gasses concentration and natural climate variability, and these occurred from human activities. Greenhouse gasses emission have

been contributed to global warming since 1950. These changes in climate occurred due to increased population growth, and other regions to make growing competition for natural resources and river flows. Southwest Australia is nominated as a region at risk, and if something happen to Southwest Australia as a result of climate change, the land and biodiversity will be affected by high temperature and low precipitation. In 2050, the vulnerability of this hotspot is likely to be high in Australian region including southwest. Moreover, in 2030, agriculture production is running out over southern Australia, because of fire and drought that can reduce soil and water availability. Also, agriculture crops have high value for this hotspot that will able to compete financially with other industries. However, this may cause climate impact that will force costs on these industries. People are affected to these changes such as fisheries, and they affected in ocean temperature, winds, and rainfall that result from sea level rise and inshore subtidal breeding. Warmer waters and lower runoff will likely reduce population sizes of cool-water and freshwater species. In addition, Coastal environment and beaches are affected by sea level rise and increased water acidity.

Some of the major causes of extinction to our biodiversity are:


loss, fragmentation and degradation of habitat the spread of invasive species unsustainable use of natural resources climate change inappropriate fire regimes changes to the marine environment and water flows

Major ecological threats in Southwest Australia are: The impact on species loss was the clearing of vegetation for agriculture. The land of South West Australia was loaded with phosphate, zinc, copper, and cobalt fertilizers. Farmers developed agricultural land to harvest crops and due to agriculture some species lost their habitats. Another impact of human activities was the spread of root disease which called Jarrah Dieback which caused the roots of forests and had been killed and infected. The disease called Phytophthora cinnamomi that is found back in 1965, and currently the disease is spreading to other habitats and may infect these habitats. Mining for bauxite, is one of the biggest producers of alumina worldwide, is a threat of South West Australia environment that can destroy habitats and pollute rivers. Alien species is one of the major causes of species loss.

Introduced alien species, especially foxes and cats, threaten native fauna and have caused major declines in species like the numbat in Southwest Australia.

Some solutions that could help protect biodiversity in general are: 1-Learn about biodiversity. We must learn all that we can about biodiversity and food issues. We must learn about where our food comes from, including about how food is grown and raised around the world. Understanding biodiversity is important to understand how humans should live while respecting the Earths finite resources. It is He who produceth gardens with trellises and without and dates and tilth with produce of all kinds and olives and pomegranates similar [in kind] and different [in variety]: eat of their fruit in their season but render the dues that are proper on the

day that the harvest is gathered. But waste not by excess: for Allah loveth not the wasters. ( 006.141.Holy Quran) 2-Involve others as part of our class, or local group. Once we have a better understanding of local biodiversity issues, it is time to take action. With our classmates, or local conservation group, talk with our local farmers and community members about biodiversity. Find out about local priorities for biodiversity and how our class, or group can help. Together, we can decide if it is best to:

Start a community biodiversity garden. Clean up a local wetland. Teach community members about biodiversity and farming, or something else.

3-Be aware when shopping. We must be aware of our choices when we go shopping. We can buy things that help to protect biodiversity. Our individual choices on what we eat and buy are important: We should Seek foods that have little packaging. Whenever possible, we should choose healthy, local and sustainably produced foods.

4- Act. There are many ways that we can make a direct difference as an individual. Here are a few ideas on how we can act to protect biodiversity:

Keep nearby forests, woods, bush and desert clean. Plant a tree. Make sure it is a local tree species and look after it. Use, reuse or repair things until they are completely worn out Do not use, eat or buy endangered species. Ask our family, friends, and community members to avoid buying or using endangered species.

1- Share. Share our experiences with our family, friends and community members.

Encourage them to work with us in helping protect biodiversity.

Specific conservation measures being taken in your groups chosen hotspot:

A project focused on the ecology, abundance and predator dynamics of threatened Shark Bay mammals, has been run by the Sustainable Ecosystems program of CSIRO, the Australian national research agency, in partnership with a local salt mining community at Useless Loop for the past 16 years. The Western Shield Program, run by the Department of Conservation and Land Management, is working to bring at least 13 native fauna species back from the brink of extinction by controlling introduced predators, the fox and feral cat. Project Eden is the arid scientific conservation component of Western Shield. This project uses innovative techniques to eradicate feral herbivores and predators and rejuvenate 105,000 hectares of arid zone habitat on Peron Peninsula at Shark Bay for threatened native fauna, and, to promote their reintroduction into the area. Other conservation projects in Southwest Australia include community-based recovery programs for the threatened Carnaby's black-cockatoo, western ground parrot, dibbler, noisy scrub-bird and malleefowl. These involve organizations such as Birds Australia, WWF, CSIRO, Department of Conservation and Land Management and local land care groups.

The numbers of species in Southwest Australia are danger of becoming extinct. 17 species of Australian mammals have become extinct in the past 200 years, and many species are in danger and some of them are dying out. The reasons for species that becoming extinct are some animals depends on a exact food and habitat, alien species that killed the native species, loss of habitat due to agriculture, and some exotic species eat food for native species and may reduce the number of species in Southwest Australia. Native plants are modified to poor sandy acidic soil, and have more than 2,000 endemic plants of 5,570 of vascular plants. There are 280 bird species with 12 species that are endemic. Further, 60 mammals species and 12 of endemic mammals species in Southwest Australia. This hotspot has little freshwater habitat, and has 20 fish species and half of these species are endemic. One of the animals that are endemic in Southwest Australia hotspot is Honey Possum, and the scientific name is Tarsipes rostratus, and it is a monotypic genus. Furthermore, Australian people called it noolbenger, and they live in an open woodlands and shrublands. When Europeans arrived in 1838, they called it a honey possum because they saw this little animal curling its tail while it licked nectar from flowers. This animal is nocturnal, they sleep during the day and when the sun is set, they come out and feed. Honey possum lives from south of Geraldton to

Esperance in South West corner of Australia. Honey possum is very small in size; it is as small as a mouse. This animal is grayish brown with yellow underside. They have large, dark eyes, and their tails are long prehensile; they can grip branches and dangle upside down, and their life span between 1 to 2 years. Honey possum feed on nectar and pollen flowers particularly in Banksia blossom and their tongue contain surface projections that assist to gather the pollen, and it is digested within 6 hours through the stomach. The special thing of honey possum is able to drink large amount of liquid (twice its body per day). This animal has low reproductive rate, but it has sustained population, and this is because mothers of honey possum cares for their children and they all survive. Female honey possum allows male honey possum to come near to her in order to impregnate her. During the winter, groups of honey possum hide so that their body temperature drops down. Honey possum are sustained population and it is not a conservation concern unless if their habitat is degraded or decrease in Banksia flowers because they feed on pollen of Banksia flowers, and due to the urban development and clearing for agriculture may be a threat to their population in the upcoming years.

One of endemic plants that are native to Southwest Australia is monotypic cephalotaceae and the scientific name is Cephalotus follicularis, and it the only species in its genus. In addition, Cephalotus means headed refer to filaments of the stamens and follicular is a little sack or bag because it describes the shape of the carnivorous pitcher. This plant is called Australian pitcher plant that is low growing plant and has little hairy pit-fall traps. Cephalotus grows in parts of bushes and grasses or in open areas, and was discovered in 1792. Cephalotus is a carnivorous plant that is widespread in wet lands, and the soil is sandy with drainage, and it requires a nutrient poor, acidic soil mix. The climate is some like Mediterranean weather, summers are warm and winters are cold and wet, they live between 10-25 degree Celsius and 40 degree Celsius. This plant has two different types of leaves which are non-carnivorous leaves and the pitcher leaves. Non-carnivorous leaves grows on early spring as the days lengthen, and the leaves will last for one year and the new leaves will emerge in the next spring, and before growing carnivorous leaves, non-carnivorous leaves increases the energy from photosynthesis. In the summer, pitcher leaves begin to grow, and slowly it becomes a pitcher trap and it can be 1 to 1.5 inches, and carnivorous leaves rest on the floor. Furthermore, some leaves grow between non-carnivorous and pitcher leaves. Traps are produced to prey insects as their feeding. Traps are heavy and small size with hairs on the lid and three ribs to guide insects to the mouth for their downfall, and if fed with insects, Cephalotus will grow faster. In addition, the mouth of the pitcher has 24 ribs or teeth. In reproduction, Cephalotus will blossom in mid to late summer, and the stalks are long reaching 24 inches because Cephalotus wants potential pollinators safe from its traps. Flowers are small and have no petals. Further,

flowers are green or white color because it wants to attract pollinators, and the flowers need to be pollinated, but it is self fertile it produces 6 to 10 seeds per flower, and seeds are yellow and small with little hair. Cephalotus plants live in mineral free water or rain but over watering them, these plants will die. The soil should have moist and humid not wet. Cephalotus plants need light to become healthy. The more light the plants receives, the more red coloration pitchers will have and healthier. Pitchers will be greener and grow larger if the shade bright to partial sun. This type of plant will be endangered, if their natural habitat is destroyed, and it will die if the plant is over water, and the soil should be moist acidic mixture to survive. In addition, this plant affects the ecosystem because some pollinators feed on pollen flowers.

In summary: The project is about biodiversity South West Australia hotspot in term to its size, location, and climatic conditions. Loss, fragmentation and degradation of habitat, the spread of invasive species, unsustainable use of natural resources and climate change the major causes of demolition of biodiversity. Major environmental threats are species loss due to the clearing of plant life for agriculture, the land was loaded with phosphate, zinc, copper and others and mining for bauxite destroyed habitats and pollute rivers. Some effective solutions are to learn more about biodiversity and the resources of our food start a community biodiversity garden and clean up a local wetland. Keep nearby forests, woods, bush and desert clean. Plant a tree. Make sure it is a local tree species and look after it and do not use, eat or buy endangered species. Ultimate effort done such as The Western Shield Program where they brought13 native fauna species back from the brink of extinction by controlling introduced predators, the fox and feral cat. Many types of animals such as of birds and Honey Possum became almost endemic. Plants like Cephalotus follicularis also has become endemic due to less lights and other human errors. Many types of leaves are endangering.

Bibliography:
Biodiversity Hotspot. South West Australia. Retrieved December 6th, 2011 from http://www.biodiversityhotspots.org/Pages/default.aspx Felicity. (2011). Research on the Honey Possum. Retrieved December 7th, 2011 from http://www.honeypossum.com.au/research.php

Kevin J. Caley. (2008). Biological diversity in Southwest Australia. Retrieved December 7th, 2011 from http://www.eoearth.org/article/Biological_diversity_in_Southwest_Australia Matt. (2010). Cephalotus follicularis. Retrieved December 7th, 2011 from http://www.flytrapcare.com/cephalotus-follicularis.html. WWF- Southwest Australia Eco-region. Retrieved December 7th, 2011 from http://m.wwf.org.au/our_work/saving_the_natural_world/australian_priority_places/south west_australia/southwest_australia_ecoregion/