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Lecture Comments (4)

1 answer

Last reply by: Bryan Cardella
Thu Feb 19, 2015 10:24 AM

Post by Clint Balabuszko on January 22, 2015

Have you seen the Documentary called Cowspiracy? it talks about animal agriculture and it's major effects on the environment. There is another video, on Youtube, called Sustainability and Food Choice: Why Eating Local, "Less" Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won't Work. http://youtu.be/Fws0f9s4Bas

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Post by Bryan Cardella on January 11, 2015

Also, for more on how humans (Americans especially) are hugely dependent on corn in their diet, check out the documentary called "King Corn". It gives some truth to the term "cornivore" being applied to our species!

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Post by Bryan Cardella on January 11, 2015

Just want to clarify what I said regarding GMOs (genetically modified organisms):
- In reality, most of our food consumed today is made of GMOs! If this is hard to believe, consider this: the act of artificial selection in itself is genetically modifying a species over time.  Scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson has a had a lot to say about this topic, and he certainly has calmed the panic regarding GMOs in many peoples' minds. Whether it's wheat, corn, beef, poultry, apples: all of these are technically GMOs!
- The true critique regarding GMOs comes from a more aggressive genetic transformation/modification, such as inserting a plasmid/vector/novel gene into the genome of an organism to make it bigger, more robust, faster growing, fatter, etc. That level of manipulation is different because with artificial selection humans are acting on what already exists in a genome, instead of actively changing the genome in a more drastic way. A great example is genetically modified salmon. There are some farms that harvest salmon that have resulted from fertilized salmon eggs being injected with growth hormone genes to make them grow larger and grow faster. Many stores and restaurants have pledged to not buy these fish. Time will tell whether or not eating the flesh of these fish will cause any health issues in humans (or drastic changes in the ecosystem)

Agriculture & Aquaculture

  • Agrosystems vary from ecosystems in these ways: no ecological succession, food chains and diversity are simplified, monoculture is the focus, crops are neatly arranged, plowing is involved, and GMOs are sometimes used
  • Feeding the world is a challenge, and undernourishment and malnourishment are continual problems around the world
  • Most of the world is sustained by fourteen crops, the U.S. grows about 200 species, small grain production and import/export are hugely important, and forage is needed to keep domesticated animals nourished
  • Livestock (such as chickens, cows, sheep, pigs, and goats) depend on rangeland and pasture, and ecological considerations must be considered to keep the maintenance of livestock sustainable
  • Soils are made up of horizons (layers) known as O, A, E, B, C, and R. Fertility of the soil and ability of plants to survive depends on whether it’s coarse-grained, clay, sand or loam
  • Fertilizers (industrial or natural) involve macronutrients/micronutrients and the Law of the Minimum (limiting factor)
  • Pests (insects, nematodes, bacteria, viruses, protists, weeds, rodents, birds) have huge effects on annual yields of crops
  • There are four main stages in the history of pesticides: broad-spectrum toxins, petroleum-based sprays, artificial organic compounds, and integrated pest management (IPM)
  • The future of agriculture may see increased production, increased farmland areas, new crops/hybrids, better irrigation, organic farming, and more vegetarianism/veganism
  • Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and genetically modified crops (GMCs) have potentially huge benefits and risks. Gene transfer and genetic transformation are at the center of how GMOs are actively created
  • Aquaculture involves oceans, lakes, and rivers where people hunt for food, and many fish/mollusks are farm-raised
  • Mariculture is the farming of oceanic fish and oysters/mussels, and of course there are positives and negatives to this practice
  • The future of the worldwide fresh water supply is not looking very promising with current population growth rates

Agriculture & Aquaculture

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Agroecosystem Basics 0:06
    • Ways It Differs from Natural Ecosystems
    • Plowing
  • Feeding the World 5:13
    • Undernourishment
    • Malnourishment
    • Give a Man a Fish
  • Crops 11:01
    • Crop Data
    • Small Grain Production
    • Forage
  • Livestock 14:45
    • Worldwide
    • Rangeland
    • Pasture
    • Ecological Considerations
  • Soils 22:29
    • Not Just Dirt
    • Soil Fertility
    • Restoring Soils
  • Fertilizers 31:38
    • Use of Organic Fertilizers
    • Industrial Fertilizers
    • Macronutrients and Micronutrients
    • Limiting Factors
    • Synergistic Effects
  • Pests and Pesticides 36:29
    • Total Losses from Pests Can be Huge
    • Known to Destroy Up to 1/3 of the Potential Harvest and 1/10 of the Harvested Crop
    • Arrival of Pesticides
    • Broad-Spectrum Toxins
    • Petroleum-Based Sprays
    • Artificial Organic Compounds
    • Integrated Pest Management and Biological Control
  • The Future of Agriculture 46:22
    • Increased Production Per Acre
    • Increased Farmland Area
    • New Crops and Hybrids
    • Better Irrigation
    • Organic Farming
    • Vegetarianism/ Veganism
  • GMOs 51:02
    • Genetically Modified Organisms
    • New Hybrids
    • Terminator Gene
    • Gene Transfer
  • Aquaculture 58:05
    • Popular Animals
    • Importance on Land
    • Fish Ponds
  • Mariculture 1:01:51
    • Farming of Ocean Fish
    • Oysters and Mussels
    • Negatives
  • The Future of Water Supply 1:04:06
    • Food Production Must be Doubled by 2025
    • 20% of Water to Sustain Crops and Livestock Worldwide
    • Potential Solutions
    • Will Malthus Be Correct…?