The butterfly effect

IMG_3385

Newly emerged Monarch butterfly dries its wings before taking off. Image: Su Leslie 2017

“Notice the small things. The rewards are inversely proportional.” — Liz Vassey

In nature, Vassey’s words are particularly true. Whole eco-systems can be compromised by disruption to even the smallest part.

In 1800 Johann Gottlieb Fichte noted that “you could not remove a single grain of sand from its place without thereby … changing something throughout all parts of the immeasurable whole”.

Edward Lorenz later described this phenomenon asĀ the butterfly effect.

IMG_3384

Monarch caterpillars. Image: Su Leslie 2017

Image-1

Monarch butterfly emerging from chrysalis. Image: Su Leslie 2017

Scientists now believe that Earth is experiencing a potentially catastrophic loss of biodiversity — with insect species being especially at risk. (See Science Direct article)

IMG_3389

Image: Su Leslie 2018

IMG_3388

Image: Su Leslie 2018

Diminishing numbers of bees and butterflies have caused widespread concern, and gardeners around the world consciously grow plant species to feed and support these creatures.

But, while gardeners may not like them, snails and other less glamorous creatures are necessary too — consuming rotting vegetation and providing food for other species like birds, lizards and mammals.

IMG_3387

Starfish are regarded as a “keystone species” in marine ecosystems — but are sensitive to both marine pollution and water temperatures.

IMG_3386

Starfish, seen clinging to a rock on the Coromandel Coast, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2018

The loss of any part of nature’s elegant and beautiful system is a tragedy in itself, but the consequences reach far beyond any single extinction, threatening the whole Earth.

It seems that humans have the power (at least for now) to protect the life-forms that remain (including our own), and reverse some of the damage done. But we’d better be quick.

Posted to Lens Artist’s Photo Challenge | nature

Advertisements

Travel theme: tiny

Seldom seen in my garden, a tiny ladybird on a lemon tree. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Seldom seen in my garden, a tiny ladybird on a lemon tree. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Ailsa’s Travel Theme this week is “tiny.” Here are a few shot of little things that have caught my eye.

A small car anyway, these toy BMW Isetta's are truly tiny. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

A small car anyway, these toy BMW Isetta’s are truly tiny. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

A tiny, inverted world reflected in a randrop. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

A tiny, inverted world reflected in a randrop. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Seen on a Munich street, a tiny garden on the back of a small truck. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Seen on a Munich street, a tiny garden on the back of a small truck. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Small insect, small flowers. A tiny part of the food chain. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Small insect, small flowers. A tiny part of the food chain. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Cicada shell and shadow. Photo, Su Leslie

Cicada moult; tiny anyway, and even smaller against its shadow. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015