I gave a final exam to my summer students last Friday. I finished the semester with a little segment about Conservation Biology, including a bunch of stuff about human impacts on biodiversity. In that lecture, I talked about the effects of habitat fragmentation.
The day before the final I got this email from one of my students:
I'm also still confused on the Edge Effect... can you explain that for me again? Is the Edge effect in correlation with fragmentation?
I wrote back to her:
Edge effects are definitely correlated with fragmentation. There are some species that do well at the edge of a forest (e.g., deer, elk, etc.), and others that need to be deep in the forest because they can't survive close to the edge (e.g., most of your mythical creatures like unicorns, centaurs, sasquatch, etc.). So, the more fragmented the habitat becomes, the closer those organisms that would be in the middle of the forest are to the edge, so they wouldn't survive as well.
I am nothing if not a professional.