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Old 12-02-2013, 11:52 AM
king joe king joe is offline
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Location: Strathroy, Ontario, Canada
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Default Re: A Step Further.. What if we stocked Bugs?

Ok....so...'bug stocking' as mentioned here....will not work for a myriad of reason, some of which have been already listed here.

Augmenting the food chain....does work, however and has been done on oligotrophic waters (sterile) in Northern BC with great success.

A quick Biology 101 session....food chain, visualized as a pyramid....has at its base, the widest point....primary production. Second level is secondary production which now also includes things that use the resouces created in primary production. 3rd level...uses resources of the previous 2 and so on and so forth....all the way up to the point of the triangle at which sits the top predator(s). Primary production, in this simplified model...are plants....and are the limiting feature in a food chain. I know, it seems counter...I mean, its the widest part of a triangle, how can it be limiting right?

In fisheries and/or wildlife management, this limiting factor is called 'carrying capacity'. Effectively, species using their habitat resources will have their populations effectively oscilate aound the capacity...the number of resources available. IF by some means, you could ADD resources in a sustainable way....effectively making more available, you have 'raised' the carrying capacity of this system making it able to support more individuals.

yada yada yada and so forth. Many more things going on here...but I think you get where I am going with this.

So...augmenting food chain dynamics means affecting positively, the primary production of 'that' system. For oligotrphic systems....nutrients (typically Phosphorus and Nitrogen...the basis of simple fertilzer mixes) needed to support plant growth are limited so by simply adding 'nutrients' to a system....the building blocks are there and plant growth is augmented. In this, homes for...yep....bugs....which use the plants for homes and for food....and all the things that eat bugs...benefit likewise. In this, you have NOT changed the species composition...the naturally evolved and occuring species but have affected the carrying capacity of the system that supports those natural species.

In systems I have worked in...we have done this in different ways. For Lotic (lakes) systems...usually impoundments behind dams, christmas tress....literally christmas trees were meshed together and sunk in the impoundment. Another variation...was to impregnate concrete blocks with fertilizer and again, concrete block shoals created in impoundments. Sometimes, a combination of trees and blocks was used. In these methods, homes/habitat and food for plants are created.

In lentic (flowing) systems, we have used fertilizer drips. In this system, the flow dictates (back eddies, calm runs, pools, etc...places of low energy) the collection of nutrients and the best likely site for colonization of plants followed by bugs and things that eat bugs).

So in both cases....as the trees break down....or the fertilizer in the blocks breaks down and is released, it becomes available as nutrients...or fertilizer drip accumulates and settles into the sediment of a calm back eddy...it all becomes available for plants to use in their colonization. IN this, they then 'bind' the nutrients to the system and hold them while still gathering more from the system as part of their lives . In their deaths, they too break down and are in turn taken up (this process is called "bio-accumulation", by the way). A win-win for systems with limited primary production.

Big point here....bio-introductions are typically not good ideas and typically result in some imbalance. Managing for existing conditions and enhancing those systems...typically have better outcomes.

Whew....where'd all that come from? And thus concludes my savant moment....HAH.

King Joe Outa Here!

Last edited by king joe; 12-02-2013 at 12:01 PM. Reason: missed a few descriptors
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