Many discussions have centered on how climate change affects people, but the impact on the animal world is also great. One animal casualty appears to be the small mammal species Bramble Cay melomys, found in Australia. The extinction of animals and the increase in endangered species are connected to human causes, dating back to the dodo.
Research paper topics to explore around this idea include looking back at extinctions in the past and showing the way humans have played a role in destroying animal life.
Climate change and endangered species
In the case of the Bramble Cay melomys, their demise was most likely caused by rising tides that impacted their habitat and food source. The tides are a result of the climate change Australia and the world have experienced. Much has already been reported on the effect of increasing temperatures on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. These tiny mammals are the first documented case of the extinction of a mammal because of climate change caused by humans.
In “Australian Rodent Is First Mammal Made Extinct by Human-Driven Climate Change, Scientists Say” in the New York Times, on June 14, 2016, Michelle Innisjune explained, “The melomys had to compete for food with nesting seabirds and turtles on a shrinking island … By March 2014, the island’s livable habitat—that is, the area above the high-tide mark—was the smallest ever recorded, and refuge sites for the melomys in rock caves, crevices and overhangs had begun to disappear.” Research paper topics could look at other wildlife about to be lost due to human causes or the efforts to save endangered species.
Human causes threaten other animals
Certainly climate change is a real and growing threat to many endangered species. However there are even more reasons for the extinction of animals by human causes. For instance, John R. Platt posted “Illegal Pet Trade Threatens 13 Indonesian Birds with Extinction” on May 25, 2016, for Scientific American, with yet another way humans are impacting the lives of animals.
Thirteen types of birds are in danger of dying out due to the illegal trade of the birds in Indonesia. Elephants are also at risk due to human causes—the illegal ivory trade selling their tusks. Research paper ideas could examine the myriad ways humans have impacted the lives of animals, from climate change to trade.
Philosophical research paper topics
While there are many scientifically based research paper topics to focus on in terms of climate change, endangered species and the extinction of animals, there is also a strong philosophical argument that can be explored. In Being-in-Creation: Human Responsibility in an Endangered World, published by Fordham University Press in 2015, editors Brian Treanor, Bruce Ellis Benson and Norman Wirzba take that approach.
The contributors ask about humans’ place in the world and aim to address whether we are part of the natural order or apart from it. Are humans an ordinary part of the world or an exception? Treanor wrote, “several of the contributors to this volume suggest that such an alternative perspective can be found by embracing our creatureliness, interpreting our nature and our place in nature in a manner that recognizes both our difference from and our kinship with the rest of the natural world.”
Have you thought about the far reaching and long-term effect of climate change, not only on people, but on the endangered species of the animal kingdom as well? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.