Ecological Impacts Of El Ninosouthern Oscillation

The widespread effect of the ENSO on Australian climate variations suggests that there should be strong responses to the phenomenon in Australian biota, including crops. There is ample evidence that the high variability the ENSO imposes on Australian climate impacts the wildlife and vegetation; populations of many Australian animals are maintained at levels well below the carrying capacity of the good years. Populations typically increase dramatically during periods of good rainfall and fall during the frequent droughts. Some adaptations to variable precipitation observed in the Australian native biota are described by Nicholls (1989, 1991). Each adaptation allows opportunistic use of good conditions, thereby producing rapid increases in populations when a drought breaks.

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