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BIOA02H3 Lecture Notes - Conservation Biology, Habitat Destruction, Species Richness

Biological Sciences
Course Code
Mary Olaveson

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Biology Chapter 57
Conservation Biology: An applied scientific discipline devoted to preserving the diversity of life on
Human interference with different habitats and ecosystems have greatly increased the rate of extinction
Normative: The embracing of certain values and the application of the scientific method in
order to achieve these values. Conservation biology is a normative scientific
Conservation biology is guided by 3 principles:
1. Evolution is the process that unites all of biology (you must know how evolutionary processes
generate and maintain biodiversity to be able to preserve it)
2. The ecological world is dynamic therefore they is no “balance of nature” that serves as a goal of
3. Humans are a part of ecosystems; human activities need to be incorporated into conservation
goals and practices
Although the processes of species extinction is a natural one, which has been done for millions of years,
conservation biology aims to prevent the extinction of animals
For the first time in history, one species of ecosystem engineers (humans) are the cause of all major
environmental changes, which disrupts the natural course of extinction/evolution of different species
it is difficult for scientists to determine an accurate number of extinction that will occur in the future
because of the following reasons:
We do not know how many species live on Earth
We do not know where many species live
It is difficult to determine when a species becomes extinct
We do not know what will happen in the future
However there are ways of estimating when extinctions will occurs, such as:
Species-are relationship: A well established mathematical relationship between the size of and
area and the number of species that live there
Using this, scientists determined, on average, that a 90% loss in habitat will result in the loss of 50% of
the species dependent on that habitat
Conservation biologists use a statistical model that incorporates information about population size,
genetic variation, morphology, physiology, and behaviour to determine the risk of population becoming
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