These comments may seem strange to most of you, but this is my take on life.  I am a biologist.  I have a couple of degrees in Wildlife Biology/Population dynamics and more years in the field than I care to admit.  Because of this background, I view life somewhat differently than most.  I look at the world and see life cycles and know that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction – That was drilled into me in High School Physics.  Other basic theories:  Nature abhors a vacuum, and there are carrying capacities to name a couple.  A cup will only hold a cup of liquid.  Similarly, an acre of clover will support only so many rabbits.  Then there are turnover rates.  A turnover rate means that a given percentage of critters are replaced annually.  Thus, about 75 percent of that rabbit population will be replaced every year.  Turnover rates are similar for other small animals such as Quail, Raccoons, and even Fox.  Deer, being a larger animal only produce an average of two fawns per year, their replacement rate is 40 percent.  It is hard to believe, but four of every ten deer you see nibbling on your garden veggies at night will die or be replaced every year.  But think, if there were no turnover and populations did not succumb on a regular basis, we would be knee deep in grasshoppers before we knew it.  But l get carried away.

On a similar thought, I like to site examples of exotic critters.  A species that is new in an area and has no natural controls (diseases or predators, etc.) tends to deviate from this carrying capacity/turn over phenomenon but they are not home free.  I cite the zebra mussel.  All fishermen will know what I am talking about.  When this exotic species found its way into our Mississippi River waters in the 1990s, it had no “controls”.  As a result, its population exploded.  I remember them becoming so abundant that they made up a layer on the river bottom a foot deep.  I have picked up native mussels that had so many zebras attached that you couldn’t tell one from a rock.  But once the zebra mussel population stabilized, reaching a balance with its environment, it too had a turnover rate.

So, what is my point?  The point is man.  Yes, Homo sapiens – you and me.  Looking at the grand scheme of things, man is just another bug on the wall, a rabbit in a clover field.  But Man, being the smart creature that he is, has outsmarted the natural scheme of life.  Man keeps pushing his carrying capacity to and beyond its limit.

Now enters this virus thing.  Will it be the mechanism/limiting factor that will cause Homo sapiens to mimic the zebra mussel crash?  Think about it.  Something will inevitably find a way to bring Homo sapiens back to “normal”.  In the big scheme of things, we are just rabbits in a field of clover.

Don Helms

Bellevue