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Conservation Biology, Chapter 56

Thanks to David Knuffke for the use of his Prezi.
by

Paul Osterman

on 20 April 2016

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Transcript of Conservation Biology, Chapter 56

At the ecosystem level, human activities can disrupt the complex "
interaction networks
" that connect members of the community to each other and to the abiotic environment.

These disruptions can stress the ecosystem, which may collapse if it is stressed too much.
Conservation
Biology

Organism
Population
Community
Ecosystem
Biome
Biosphere
Where Are We?
Ecology is the study of organism interactions with each other and the environment.

Ecological processes occur at multiple levels of organization on Earth.

Each level of organization emerges from the processes of the level below it
Behavior is an Organism-Level phenomenon.
Big Questions:
Make Sure You Can
Why should we conserve?

How do we conserve?
Justify conservation on a scientific basis.

Explain the benefits of maintaining high levels of biodiversity on Earth.

Justify limiting human impact on the environment on a scientific basis.

Explain the issues that human activities can cause to species, communities, ecosystems, and the biosphere. Provide examples at each level of ecological organization.

Provide examples to show how conservation biology has been applied to remedy problems at all levels of ecological organization.

Explain how monitoring, planning, conservation, and restoration ecology all contribute to the field of conservation biology.
Conservation biology is applied to all levels of organization.
Why Conserve?
How to Conserve
An Emotional Appeal
A Scientific Justification
1. They aren't making any more Earths
2. Life is
a
m
a
z
i
n
g
3. The fact that human activity is contributing to extinction is morally ambiguous at best.
1.
Biodiversity
has tangible benefits that make our existence possible (and comfortable)
Genetic Diversity
:
Genes for useful traits
FOR FREE!
Species Diversity
:
Organisms provide food, resources, medicines, etc.
FOR FREE!
Ecocystem Diversity
:
Ecosystems provide essential services that make human existence possible (nutrient cycling, purification of wastes, etc.)
FOR FREE!
2. The current mode of human existence is not
sustainable
into the indefinite future.
3. Not only does human activity impact other organisms, it impacts other humans.
4. We have the ability to analyze, predict and plan our actions as a species.
Conservation
vs.
Environmentalism
The scientific study of human/ecosystem interactions with the aim of minimizing human impact.
The philosophical belief that humans have a moral imperative to protect the natural environment.
How issues arise
How Conservation Happens


The smaller a population gets, the more likely it is to continue to decrease.

This process even has a name:

"
The Extinction Vortex
"
Data from a population of Greater Prarie Chickens in Illinois.
Note the increasing decline in number of males and hatch rate of eggs until intervention by conservationists. Intervention involved translocating individuals from three separate populations to the Illinois population, which increased variation and lead to a rebound in the population.
Humans do all sorts of things to populations of other species... for all sorts of reasons.
Data from the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire. Following deliberate deforestation of a large area, the amount of nitrate lost from the soil increased ~20 times.
"
Edge effects
":
Conditions at the edge of an ecosystem are fundamentally different than conditions in the interior.
Human fragmentation of habitats leads to increases in edges.
Two small forests are not equivalent to one large forest (even if the total area is).
1. Monitoring
2. Planning
3. Action
Threatened species and ecosystems are identified, studied, and monitored.

This can take many forms.
Example: The Red-cockaded Woodpecker is a species currently listed as "vulnerable" on the UNESCO "Red List" of threatened and endangered species.
It prefers forest habitat with low undergrowth, and does not nest in forest with dense undergrowth.
This is known because the populations have been studied.
Radio collars are the "classic" image of monitoring a species. There are many other methods, too.
The information from monitoring informs resource allocation, and protective structures (reserves, laws, etc.)
Conservation efforts are focused on the major biodiversity "hot spots" on Earth.
A corridor connecting two habitats seperated by a highway is an example of planning.
Understanding an organism's requirements helps to plan for the survival of the organism in its environment.
Monitoring and planning are put in to action when determining how to conserve a species/ecosystem.
America established the first National Park System (1872- Yellowstone National Park)
There are 58 American National Parks.
There are now 6,555 national parks in the world.
Restoration Ecology
:
Deals with using ecological understandings to restore damaged ecosystems.
Bioremediation:
Uranium Salt pools at Oak Ridge National Laboratory contaminated the ground water for 30 years. Ethanol was added, which boosted microbial activity and decreased the concentration of uranium.
Q: What do these three species have in common?
A: There are less than 100 individuals in the wild. Actually, there may well be less than one Yangtze River Dolphin.
Try to find something more amazing
Rachel Carson: Wrote Silent Spring (1962), one of the first major popular works that demonstrated that human activity can negatively effect ecosystems.
At the species level, small populations are more prone to collapse than larger populations.
A field with no end of work to do
Before and after photos of the remediation of a gravel mine in New Jersey
Full transcript