Lecture 14

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Lecture 14
2011-11-02 00:45:31
Biodiversity Conservation Biology

EVRN 148
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  1. Biodiversity
    the variety of living things in a given area
  2. How Biodiversity is Measured
    • 1. Genetic Diversity - Genetic variation within a species (variety of different versions of the same genes within a species)
    • 2. Species Diversity - # of species
    • 3. Species Richness - # of species in an area
  3. Inbreeding depression
    genetically similar parents mate and produce inferior offspring
  4. Ecological Diversity
    richness and complexity of a biological community (number of niches, trophic levels etc)
  5. Ecosystem diversity
    number/variety of ecosystems
  6. Latitudinal gradient
    • species richness increases toward the equator
    • Some possible causes:
    • High plant productivity: more niches = higher species coexistence
    • Climate stability, no glaciation: more time for evolution/speciation
    • Diverse habitats increase species diversity and evenness
    • Tropical rainforests and drylands, ecotones
    • Human disturbance can increase local habitat diversity
  7. Biodiversity hotspots
    have a large number of endangered and threatened species; have a concentration of endemic species; used to prioritize conservation; 34 - most near equator
  8. Endemic species
    species that are unique to that location
  9. Benefits of biodiversity
    • Food
    • Wild species can improve food security
    • Wild strains can provide disease resistance
    • Potential new food crops
    • Medicinal value
    • Wild species produce $150 billion/year in pharmaceuticals
    • Ecosystem services
    • Intact ecosystems have increased stability and resilience, and can provide ecosystem services
    • Purify air and water
    • Detoxify wastes
    • Stabilize climate, moderate floods, droughts, wind, temperatures
    • Cycle nutrients and renew soil fertility
    • Pollination
  10. Biophilia
    humans have emotional bond with other living things
  11. Threats to Biodiversity
    • extinction
    • Extirpation = the disappearance of a population from a given area, but not the entire species globally. This can lead to extinction
  12. Causes of Extinction "HIPPO"
    • H: Habitat destruction and fragmentation
    • I: Invasive species
    • P: Pollution
    • P: Population pressure (human)
    • O: Overharvesting
  13. Habitat fragmentation
    gradual, piecemeal degradation of habitat; continuous habitats are broken into patches
  14. Biodiversity Protection
    • Conservation biology is one of the few scientific fields that is explicitly goal-directed
    • Aim of biological conservation is to prevent individual species (or entire communities) from becoming extinct
    • Important concepts for conservation
    • Conservation geneticists = study genetic attributes of organisms to infer the status of their populations
  15. Minimum viable population size
    how small a population can become before it runs into problems
  16. Metapopulations
    a network of subpopulations; important in fragmented habitats
  17. Endangered Species Act (ESA)
    • 1937
    • primary US legislation for protecting biodiversity
    • forbids the government and citizens from taking actions that destroy endangered species or their habitats
    • forbids trade in products from endangered species
  18. Threatened
    those likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future
  19. Endangered
    one that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range
  20. CITES
    • UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
    • protects endangered species by banning international transport of their body parts
  21. Convention on Biological Diversity (1992)
    • 3 Goals:
    • 1. Conserve biodiversity
    • 2. Use biodiversity in a sustainable manner
    • 3. Ensure the fair distribution of biodiversity's benefits
  22. The Red List
    [LOL - it is red] species facing high risks of extinction
  23. Captive breeding
    individuals are bred and raised in zoos or other captive facilities with the intention of later re-introductions
  24. Indicator species
    an organism that serves as an index of ecosystem health; help to prioritize communities that need protection
  25. Keystone species
    a species that plays a critical role in a biological community that is out of proportion to its abundance; protecting this can protect the entire ecosystem
  26. Flagship species
    Interesting species used to motivate people to preserve communities and contribute to conservation → “charismatic megafauna”
  27. Umbrella species
    Species which require large blocks of land → preserving the umbrella also preserves the entire community; are often large species
  28. Habitat protection
    recent trend to protect entire system rather than single species
  29. Ecological restoration
    restores degrade areas to some semblance of their former condition
  30. Debt-for-nature swap
    a conservation organization pays off a portion of a developing country’s international debt
  31. Conservation concession
    conservation organizations pay nations to conserve and not sell resources
  32. Conservation easement
    legal document between the land owner and a government or private agency; the owner retains property rights but agrees not to allow certain types of development