FOR200H1 Lecture 4: FOR200 Week 3

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15 Aug 2016
FOR200 Week 3
Introduction to Conservation Biology
- Emerged in response to the consequences of increases in global population. Human
population growth linked with increasing resource consumption
- Increased consumption of natural resources leads to direct and severe consequences on the
diversity of the living world
- Threats - Destruction of natural habitat, climate change, invasive and exotic species
- Conservation Biology: The scientific study of how human impact organisms or the
development of ways to protect biodiversity. Response to the challenges of preserving
Goals of Conservation Biology
- What is the full range of biological diversity on Earth?
- What impact other organisms, genetic variation and ecosystems?
- Can we develop practical approaches to protect biodiversity: prevent extinction of species,
maintain genetic diversity within species, protect and restore biological communities
Biodiversity: refers to the variety of species and ecosystems on earth and the ecological process of
which they are part. Biodiversity makes it possible for organisms and ecosystems to respond and
adapt to environmental change. Biodiversity conservation is crucial to ensuring that forest are
managed sustainably
Three Dimensions of Biodiversity
Genetic Diversity
- All genetic variation in natural populations. The genetic variation within individuals, within
populations and among populations
- The genetic info of each organism differs slightly between individuals of the same species, a
little more between closely related species, and even more among distantly related species
How Genotype affects Phenotype
- Genome: all the genetic info of an individual (DNA sequences)
- The exact genome of an individual is known as its genotype
- The expression of an organism in a given environment is known its phenotype; observable
and measureable traits
- Phenotype can be influenced by environment and the interaction between genotype and
- Important because diversity within a species is necessary to maintain diversity among
- How does forest disturbance affect genetic diversity - High genetic diversity helps
organisms cope with environmental variability (and is the basis for adaptation to future
environmental uncertainty) (reduction in gene flow and genetic diversity). Decreased
genetic variability in a population can lead to increased rate of inbreeding (higher risk of
deleterious effects of breeding among close relatives)
- How can genetic diversity be affected -When a population abruptly decreases in size there is
a sudden decrease in genetic diversity (population bottle neck). Original population – higher
genetic diversity  new population - low genetic diversity, cannot produce the same large
trees as before
- When genetic diversity is low – greater susceptibility to disease because of decreased
variability. Ex: butternut tree
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