how does pollution affect animals’ development?

how does pollution affect animals’ development?

When reading or engaging in discussions about animal welfare, human-wildlife conflict, or zoonotic disease, things can become emotionally-charged very quickly.
For this article, I recommend using an indica to help keep you focused yet calm and emotionally-regulated. Grinding less than 50mg of indica (much less than 1/4 of a 1g bud) and then smoking just a small pinch of that once or twice over a 3-5hr period is perfect for maintaining a calm state of mind when studying socially-, emotionally-, and even politically-challenging concepts.
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There are many different forms of pollution, each of which have unique, detrimental effects on wildlife and their respective ecosystems. The impacts are multifaceted, harming much more than the immediately observable abiotic and biotic environmental elements.

For example, light pollution alone can inhibit the developmental progress of species across several taxa (namely, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects), specifically in terms of their growth and metabolism.

The unnatural levels of ambient illumination, extended photoperiods, and other related effects impose severe physiological development impairments.

One example of such consequences is the lowered production of melatonin due to abnormally long photoperiods. This hormone – synthesized during the nighttime only – is crucial to numerous developmental processes in tadpoles:

  • Thyroid hormone regulation (a critical part in tadpole metamorphosis)
  • Maturation of the gonads
  • Development of reproductive behavior
  • Adaptation to dark environments
  • Skin pigmentation
  • Thermoregulation

Pollution can also inhibit the developmental progress of animals on the species level. Pollutants in the form of chemicals, noise, and heat have been recorded to disrupt individuals’ reproductive physiology, specifically in gamete functionality and organisms’ behavior.

Smithsonian Magazine

By reducing fertility and interfering with animals’ natural mating behaviors, these forms of pollution can impose severe inhibitions on entire species’ evolutionary advancement due to:

  • Reduced fitness
  • Low rates of mating encounters
  • Masculinization of females
  • Feminization of males
  • Unbalanced sex ratios

Even electromagnetic radiation emitted from phone masts introduces harmful impacts on wildlife, especially bats, as they rely on sonar to navigate their environment and identify prey.

Things we consider to be essential to our everyday lives have had tremendously disadvantageous consequences for our wild neighbors and the surrounding environment.

We must do better to recognize these harms and do what we can to mitigate these dangers before the effects cross the threshold of irreversibility.

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