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Conservtion Biology

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BLG 230

Chapter 57 – Conservation Biology  Conservation biology – an applied scientific discipline devoted to preserving the diversity of life on Earth ■ modern conservation biology is supported by and integrated with other scientific disciplines ■ humans study the full array of goods and services that humans derive from species and ecosystems ■ it's a normative discipline – embraces certain values and applies scientific methods to the goal of achieving these values ■ motivated by belief that preservation of biodiversity is good and that its loss is bad  Conservation biology is guided by 3 basic principles: ■ Evolution is the process that unites all of biology ■ The ecological world is dynamic ■ Humans are a part of ecosystems  early photosynthetic prokaryotes and eukaryotes generated oxygen, making Earth's atmosphere unsuitable for anaerobic organisms  plants accelerated weathering of the rocks, gaining access to rock-bound nutrients  endemic species – species that are found nowhere else  humans have been exterminating species for 1000s of years due to over-hunting  People value biodiversity because: ■ Humans depend on other species for food, fiber and medicine ■ Species are necessary for the functioning of ecosystems and the many benefits and services those ecosystems provide to humanity ■ Human derive enormous aesthetic pleasure from interacting with other species ■ Extinctions deprive us of opportunities to study and understand ecological relationships among organisms ■ Living in ways that cause extinction of other species raises serious ethical issues because species are judged to have intrinsic value How Do Biologists Predict Changes in Biodiversity?  To preserve Earth's biodiversity, we need to both maintain the processes that generate new species and provide conditions that will keep extinction rates no higher than typical levels  4 reasons that scientists cannot predict the number of extinctions that will occur: ■ We do not know h
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