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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
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February 21, 2014     The Catalina Islander
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February 21, 2014
 

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The squirrel is larger than most as fox is a little example BY THE CATALINA ISLAND CONSERVANCY EDUCATION DEPARTMENT One fascinating thing about isolated islands, like Catalina Island, is that the average body size of certain resident species can change, and sometimes dramati- cally. How and why size changes occur can be driven by different physical challenges posed by the environment. The island can have a scar- city or unusual bounty of food resources. There's usually a limit- ed gene flow on an island, because new blood rarely arrives. And the changes happen over time - lots of time generations, centuries, and eons. As a practical matter, gigan- tism and dwarfism is driven by the interplay of all these factors. Island gigantism and dwarfism is a very real evolutionary factor. That means it's not an exaggeration to say that, like the local ground squirrel, the Catalina California quail is an actual giant. All plants and animals move toward equilibrium within their environment. They develop the size, speed, agility and diet that will maximize their odds of sur- vival. Since the environment is different on Catalina than on the mainland, equilibrium here is dif- ferent, too. For squirrels, bigger was better. But why do some species get. big and others small? Let~tal~e a look at the Catalina Island fox, an actual dwarf. A lot of the same factors that favored big squirrels and big quail on Catalina also favor small foxes. For a fox or any other species arriving on Catalina, it would have found ongoing changes from the mainland in habitats, food availability, compe- tition, predation and genetics. But foxes got smaller, not big- ger. Why is that? The answer "is simple: Foxes aren't squirrels. The Catalina California ground squirrel is a giant compared to its distant relatives on the mainland. Courtesy Catalina Island Conservancy They need different things to sur- vive, and they behave differently. That would have meant Catalina would have presented a very dif- ferent set of opportunities and challenges for them. What if, on the mainland, the fox was being "pushed" as a spe- cies to be bigger in order to fend off competitors, such as coyotes? What if the best defense against predators there was to be big and fierce enough to fight, instead of to run and hide, like a squirrel? Pressures like that would have favored bigger foxes. Like the Catalina California ground squirrel, the fox's arrival on Catalina led to the discov- ery that it was the only fox in town. It had plenty to eat and not much in the way of predators. In this case, though, investing all that energy in being bigger and fiercer wasn't necessary anymore. Energy formerly expended in that direction could be put toward rais- ing young. Another discovery was that a lot of food and prey on the main- land simply wasn't on the Island. The diet would have to be altered, and was. Foxes went more veggie. The combination of no competi- tion and a more vegetarian diet favored a leaner, smaller animal that could get around the Island eating cactus fruit and pouncing on beetles instead of small squir- rels. All of this (and more) almost certainly happened. And, as with the chubbier squirrel, just being a skinny fox wasn't the only factor making the Catalina Island fox a dwarf. Over time, for a combination of reasons, nature favored the lean-framed animals here and those foxes lived to pass on their genes. Meanwhile, bigger, less nimble foxes probably didn't make nature's cut. Lady Lancers soccer team m BY CARLOS MARTINEZ After making the soccer play- offs for the last season, Avalon made sure it would be doing the same thing so the battle for third place versus Southland's Christian was on. On the first day of the matchup the game 'was very intense both teams shooting the ball but noth- ing was falling for either team but with-about 4minutes to gobefore' the half ended Maddi Hobbs made a beautiful pass to freshman for- ward Viviana Chavoya who scored the goal and led her team to the victory. Marisa Morones had 10 saves to help the lancers get one step closer to claim a playoff spot! On the second day the Lady Lancers were very determined and ready to fight for this victory they defi- nitely went all out. In the first half the Eagles scored right off the back and the lancers trailed all half 1 to O. In NEED A HOME LOAN? TDE NEWSPAPER A KILLER WAY TO ADVERTISE Left to Right: Viofeta Pedroza, Celeste'LIctenhan, Maddi Hobbs,'Marisa Morones, Estefania : Chavoya, Mayra Rodriguez, Mar!a Amezcua, Katrina Rome, and Cynthia Casillas. Photo courtesy of Carlos Martinez the second half Avalon came out swinging, getting three very good shots on goal early, one which slammed off the top crossbar and Southland's Christian keeper had to punch out at the last second. Finally, 5 minutes into the sec- amazing shot in the left corner while falling to tie the game up ltol. Meanwhile, the Avalon offense came alive, registering 10 shots and being so close to scoring every time. Viviana Chavoya end half Maddi Hobbs scored an broke through in the 65th minute DRE: 00698852 NMLS: 249784 CONTACT: BRYAN TAYLOR SPECIALIZING IN: Conventional, FHA and Government Loans Refinance, Rate Reduction and Cash Out Loans 2nd Home Financing, Investment Properties and Harp II Mortgages and Reverse Mortgages DIRECT: 562.756.5559 FAX: 562.920.7465 EMAIL: BTHomeLoans@aol.com '~ "SERVICE IS MY COMMITMENT" Advantage One Home Loans after senior Jennifer Silva got off a bullet shot that was blocked by the crossbar and bounced back Chavoya came into the box unabated to tap the ball in and give her Lancers the victory and help them claim third place and a winning season 9-7-1. A lot of credit goes out to the Avalon Lady Lancers defense for only limiting one goal during these two impor- tant games. The Lady Lancers are headed to the Division 7 playoffs! When you're in pain, even doing the things you love can be daunting. If pain or injury.is slowing you down, help is as dose as the physical therapy department at Catalina Island Medical Center. Call today to find out how we can help you. P.O. Box I~3 lOO Falls Canyon Road (310) 510"O7OO Island Medical Cent" THE CATALINA ISLANOE~ Fri(JayiFebruary21i2()14 i S