Conservation Biology.

What is a conservationist?

May or may not involve science.

What is conservation biology?

The multidisciplinary, applied science of maintaining the Earth's biological diversity.

So what is biodiversity?

The richness, abundance, and variability of plant and animal species and communities, and the ecological processes that link them.

How do we quantify biodiversity?

Is biodiversity declining?

What are the causes of biodiversity declines?

Human activities

  1. Habitat loss and degradation
    1. Air/water pollution
    2. Road/dam building
    3. Erosion/altered fire regimes/altered water availability
    4. Deforestation/forest fragmentation
    5. Desertification
  2. Overexploitation/harvesting
    1. Commercial exploitation (e.g. Stellar's sea cow)
    2. Subsistence exploitation (e.g. the current bushmeat crisis in Africa)
    3. Incidental exploitation (e.g. dolphins in tuna nets)
    4. Recreational exploitation
  3. Exotic species introductions
    1. Pests/Disease (e.g. chestnut blight)
    2. Predators (e.g. brown tree snake to Guam)
    3. Competitors (e.g. American mink in Europe)
  4. Loss of mutualists (e.g. plant - pollinator interactions)

Which cause is most important?

Case studies:

  1. Giant panda
  2. Black-footed ferret
  3. Green sea turtles
  4. Hawaiian avifauna

Why should we care?

What do conservation biologists strive towards?

Updated April 12, 2005
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