[#] tsunami: natural disaster or alien invader?

OK -- let's start this post by pointing out that I'm a pointy-headed neophite when it comes to evolution and the philosophy of eco-system naturalists. My own position on the matter is "macro-evolution: not possible; micro-evolution: demonstrated and factual", and it is best not to say more than that.

However, who can shut me up on Friday, right? I was reading this article about some of the long-term effects of the tsunami 6 months ago, and as I read the article, I was pretty much stumped.

Read this:
"In some areas, including important national parks, the wave has encouraged the spread of alien invasive species, such as prickly pears and salt-tolerant mesquite," the agency said in a statement. ...

"Now they can pose a threat to our ecosystem," {Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne} said. "Our local plants and animals have not co-evolved with these alien plants so when alien plants dominate in the ecosystem they will reduce the diversity of the local fauna and flora."
'k. Let me ask those reading this blog something.

If you are an "evolutionist" or a "naturalist", can you define the meaning of the word "threat" in the above quote? Sure: it looks like prickly pears and mesquite (I read that and I start thinking: what a great natural resource to export to those of us with gas grills and smokers) might start to overwhelm the previously-existing vegetation, but in what way is that a "threat"? It might put the future existence of other competing vegetation in doubt, but that's how nature is supposed to work, right? It's not like some fat, greasy capitalist was spitting mesquite pods and prickly pear seeds in the forests causing them to be corrupted by man's wicked interference. A tsunami (big wall of ocean water generated by natural causes) spread the seeds. It seems to me that just because nature was in some state when you first observed it, that doesn't mean that it is the state that it is "supposed to be" in. It got that way, in your view, by events exactly like this one causing perpetual changes. I thought that was the way things worked, not a "threat".

The rest of you can just go about your business.


Jeffrey said...

Good point.

Prickly pears and mesquite are only a threat to the status quo, nature is constantly changing and evolving/devolving.

c.t. said...

I would have written this under your new index post above, but there's no comments on that post. In my I.E. browser your blog has no right column. In firefox it does. Firefox reads your blog beatifully. I.E., at least mine on my computer, reads it as no right column and everything that would be in the right column is underneath all the posts at the bottom of the page. FYI.

FX Turk said...

Xeno --

Odd that you mention this. I was viewing my blog at home on my MAC this weekend and noticed the same thing. The CSS template in blog has been messed up, and the "main" section in which the posts are seen was too wide, forcing the right column to get pushed out of position and down.

Firefox didn't care, but IE did. I fixed the problem today. Thanks for noticing me.

FX Turk said...

No wait:

NOW it is fixed. Stupid footer code was defining the wrong width.

Thank you for your patience.