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A border is not just a line on a map

Is a border line just a virtual mark on a map and if so, why are the Israeli rodents more careful than the Jordanian ones? Why are there more harems in Israel, while in Jordan there is a greater variety of reptiles? A series of new studies in the Department of Environmental Evolutionary Biology and the Department of Science Teaching - Biology of Oranim University are trying to find the answer.

"The border line is indeed an imaginary line on a map and it is not capable of stopping these species from moving from Israel to Jordan, but the border line stops humans and their different impact on nature," said Dr. Uri Shains, one of the study's editors.

The series of studies, conducted in collaboration with Jordanian researchers, examined the variety of species of reptiles, mammals, beetles, spiders, and arachnids on both sides of the border in the Arava region. Along with Dr. Shines, the Israeli team included the research students Idan Shapira and Chahem Mittler, and their goal was to find out if in an area that is climatically the same, the border line could lead to changes in the population and the amount of species, which should not be related to a line unknown to them at all.

In the first study that dealt with the reptile population, it became clear that although the number of reptiles caught was not significantly different, the diversity of species in the sandy areas in Jordan is significantly higher compared to the diversity of species found in the sandy areas in Israel. In the second study it turned out that the gerbils in Israel are more careful than the Jordanians. In a third study, it became clear that the population of funnel-digging ants in Israel is significantly larger than in Jordan.

According to the researchers, the differences between Israel and Jordan are mainly in the high level of agriculture and the many agricultural farms in Israel compared to the agriculture based mainly on nomadic shepherds and traditional agriculture on the Jordanian side. The agricultural fields on the Israeli side not only create an interruption in the habitats and thus cause a reduction in the variety of species, they bring with them one of the most problematic invasive species in the world - the red fox. On the Jordanian side the fox is much less common so the gerbils can afford to be careless. The abundance of harems is also related to another animal - the Negev deer. This deer serves as an "environmental engineer" that breaks the soil crust and thus allows the urchins to dig their funnels. The Negev deer is a protected animal in Israel, while in Jordan it is hunted and thus the Jordanian harems lose their soil engineer.

"The current studies have clearly shown the impact of man on nature - for better or for worse. In recent years, there has been a transition of advanced agricultural technologies from Israel to Jordan, and we need to deepen our understanding of the effects of modern agriculture so that we can help preserve the great variety of species in the Arava region," concluded Dr. Shains.

4 תגובות

  1. hgyu, those biological growths (bacteria, fungi, plants, animals) corrupted the primitive earth that was rocky and lifeless in a harmonious and perfect way, and they just emerged and destroyed the harmony that was. Man is tasked with returning the planet to its perfect primordial state.

  2. The proof that we humans are aliens on earth is that only man is capable of totally corrupting the earth, something that no animal can do. Every other animal lives in harmony with nature and the earth and only man lives in disharmony with nature and the earth. 

  3. Man's influence on nature is just as natural as the cat's influence on nature, man is a part of nature.

  4. How I love Arinmals! As a child, I used to catch small ants and place them inside the funnels that Harinmel dug in the sand, I loved watching and watching how the poor ant tries to escape out, while Harinmel starts throwing sand at it from below, and it slides down more and more until finally he catches it and pulls it in hahaha 🙂

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