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BIOA02 - Chapter_57.docx

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Biological Sciences
Mary Olaveson

Biology – Chapter 57 Conservation Biology: An applied scientific discipline devoted to preserving the diversity of life on Earth 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 discipline 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 conservation 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 extinct Endangered species: Species in imminent danger of extinction in all or a significant part of their range Threatened Species: those that are likely to become endangered in the near future Species whose populations shrink vary rapidly or species with special habitat or dietary requirements are more likely to become extinct than species that have more generalized requirements Some causes of species extinction include habitat destruction/modification, the introduction of foreign species, overexploitation, and climate change Habitat Loss Habitat loss is the primary cause of species endangerment in the U.S. Habitat Fragmentation:The isolation and reduction in size of habitats due to the destruction of other habitats As habitats become more and more fragmented, it changes a species ability to survive because it can no longer support species that require large habitats and can only support a small number of species that can survive in small habitats Edge Effect: A phenomenon where species colonize the edge of patches to compete with or prey on species living there The reason why they colonize edge patches is because in habitats, the edge of the habitat is exposed to some factors and influences that the interior of the patch may not be i.e. in forest patches, the edges are exposed to stronger winds, higher temperatures, lower humidity, and higher levels of sunlight than
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