Sunday, September 17, 2017

Is a Duck a Duck?

Mallard Duck
Mottled Duck

In an article posted in the New York Times by Joanna Klein, there is evidence showing that the mottled duck species are being hybridized out of existence. The current hybridization rate is only between 5 and 8 percent, according to DNA analysis done by geneticist, Sabrina Taylor. But still, there are questions about whether or not human interference is expediting the hybridization process. The author makes a valid point: "almost a tenth of the Mottled and mallard ducks are actually hybrids, which is concerning if you wish to preserve the genetic lineage of Mottled Ducks." I feel that many of the birds habitats are being affected by humans, especially with constant oil spills in the Gulf where many of these species thrive. Since mottled ducks are non-migrating birds they have no way of reaching other populations of mottled ducks, instead they settle for mallard ducks nearby. This will affect the biodiversity of North American birds if mottled ducks are wiped out of existence due to hybridization. This situation calls for more conservation and protection of these birds and their habitats. Luckily, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has a plan to deal with this problem so that the hybridization rate does not increase any further. Will the hybrid of this species still be considered a duck if the mottled duck ceases to exist? What about newer species that emerge as a result of hybridization? Is a duck a duck?

1 comment:

  1. I agree many birds habitat has been affected, and it is so sad to see that animals and birds have to bear the consequences of the things that humans do. A new data revealed a rate of 100 to 1,000 species lost per million per year, mostly due to human-caused habitat destruction and climate change. It is awesome that the FWC has a plan to decrease the hybridization rate. Hopefully, this will help prevent the ducks population from getting extinct.