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科学美国人60秒:海狸的“复仇”

所属教程:科学美国人60秒地球系列 更新:12-14
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Invading Beavers Turn Tundra to Ponds

海狸的“复仇”

When you look at satellite images it’s easy to pick out hurricanes, deserts, and the work of a certain semiaquatic rodent:

当你观看卫星图片时,很容易识别出飓风、沙漠以及半水生啮齿动物的“作品”。

“And the reason you can see beaver activity from space is because they leave a mark on the landscape.”

你之所以能在太空中看到海狸活动是因为它们在景观中留下了印记。

Ken Tape is an Arctic Ecologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

肯恩·泰普是阿拉斯加费尔班克斯大学的一位北极生态学家。

“So they make these ponds, and when a pond forms my idea was that we could infer, if it was a certain kind of pond and we could see a beaver dam, then we could infer that beavers had moved into that area, or moved out of that area if it’s a beaver pond that’s drained.”

“海狸会修筑水坝,当一个水坝形成,我们可以推测,如果是某种类型的池塘,我们就可以看到海狸筑的水坝,然后我们就可以推测海狸进入或者离开了该区域,前提是这个池塘的水干涸了。”

Tape and a team of other scientists used Landsat satellite images that cover more than 19,000 square kilometers of Arctic tundra in Alaska.

泰普和队伍中其他科学家利用地球资源卫星图,此卫星图可以覆盖阿拉斯加1.9万平方公里的北极苔原地区。

“We saw lots of new beaver ponds, I think we saw 56 new beaver ponds formed between 1999 and 2014.”

我们发现了很多新的海狸池塘,我认为有56个新的海狸池塘形成于1999~2004年间。

Beavers are considered keystone species, which have an outsized effect on their ecosystem.

人们认为海狸是重要的物种,对它们所处的生态系统有着重要的影响。

“And I think it’s particularly true in the Arctic because it’s underlain by all this frozen ground.”

在北极地区,海狸的重要性尤为明显,因为北极地下都是冻土。

He’s talking about permafrost.

泰恩指的是永冻层。

“And what happens is when you start flooding permafrost areas, permafrost starts to deteriorate. And really the glue that’s binding the soil together, that’s holding the landscape together starts to thaw.”

“当永冻层被水淹没后,就会开始瓦解。凝结土壤以及保持景观之间的粘性就会开始溶解。”

Tape and colleagues presented their findings December 11th at the annual conference of the American Geophysical Union. He says the implications of beavers’ northward expansion are big.

在12月11日召开的美国地球物理学会会议上,泰普和同事们展示了研究的结果。泰普表示,海狸向北扩张有着巨大的影响。

“Imagine that you just dropped 56 groundwater springs into Arctic stream environments. A groundwater spring in the Arctic is a rare thing in the Arctic and it’s an oasis of biologic activity for fish spawning and things like that.”

假设在北极的河流中投入56个地下水喷泉。地下喷泉在北极非常罕见,它是鱼类产卵的生物活动的绿洲。

Beavers may be following the northward expansion of vegetation onto the tundra.

海狸可能会沿着北部的植被扩张到苔原上。

“But the other possible driver is rebound from heavy trapping a century ago.”

但是另外一个可能的驱动因素是100年以前,由于大力捕捉海狸,而导致的海狸数量反弹。

If they contribute to the deterioration of the permafrost, you could call it coming back with a vengeance.

如果海狸加速了永冻层的崩塌,那么也可以称之为它们来“复仇”了。

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