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29 March, 14:04

When an ecosystem ecologist looks at landscape full of interacting plants and animals, all kinds of questions about how ecosystems function come to mind, and they are not that easy to answer. For example, in an African savanna, the following observations can be made: Gazelles, zebras, and wildebeest eat grass, but wildebeest eat a lot of grass; giraffes eat the leaves of acacia trees; lions and cheetahs eat zebras, gazelles, and wildebeest; more lightning-caused fires burn when there is more grass; more acacia trees grow when there are fewer fires. Predict how this savanna ecosystem might change if the cheetah and lion populations decline due to a feline (cat) virus.

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  1. 29 March, 15:21
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    There will be an overpopulation of zebras, gazelles, and wildebeest.

    Explanation:

    There will be a herbivores overpopulation due to the declination of cheetah and lions populations. The fewer predators, the more herbivores. A growing population of herbivores leads to resource depletion, which is grass in this case. This declining in the grass amount also leads to less lightning-caused fires which provide fewer conditions for acacia trees growing, so then the grass and acacia leaves will scarce impacting the herbivores populations.
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