Lecture Outline
 
Conservation Biology
Biology 5548/5548G
Instructor: C. Ray Chandler

 

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This course outline corresponds to the outline you will see during lecture. The course topics and their organizational relationships are shown in black. Readings from the textbook, as well as helpful figures and tables, are shown in red. The take-home message or theme of each topic is given in blue.


I. INTRODUCTION TO BIODIVERSITY
A. Biodiversity (pp. 27-29, 61-83)
1. what is it? - biodiversity is variability among organisms and the ecological systems in which they live
2. what do we know about it? (Fig 3.3, 3.6) - there are 1.5 million described species concentrated in tropical regions
3. what is happening to it? - this biodiversity is being lost at unprecedented rates
B. Conservation Biology (pp. 3-25)
1. definition - conservation biology is the science that studies the loss of biodiversity and develops solutions
2. characteristics - this science is multidisciplinary, applied, and inexact
3. origins - conservation biology has roots in preservationist, utilitarian, and ecological philosophies
C. Concepts for Conservation (pp. 29-60)
1. diversity (Fig. 2.1, 2.5)
2. species concepts
3. related terms
 
II. THE BIODIVERSITY CRISIS
A. History of Extinctions (pp. 159-162)
1. background rates - the average rate of extinction over geological time is ca. 100-1000 species per century
2. mass extinctions (Fig. 7.3) - but this average is punctuated by periods with dramatically elevated extinction rates
B. The Role of Humans (pp. 162-187)
1. current extinction rates (Table 7.1, Table 7.2, Fig. 7.4) - current extinction rates may be as much as 1000x background
2. case histories - humans play a major role as illustrated by case after case
C. Properties of Declining Species (pp. 189-203)
1. small population size - small popualtion size is the best predictor of extinction
2. restricted geographic range (Fig. 8.3) - restricted range also puts species at risk
3. restricted habitat - as does specialization on a rare habitat
4. specialization - ecological specialization makes species less responsive to change
5. large body size - large body size is associated with low density and small populations
6. poor dispersal - poor dispersal limits a species potential to move away from impacted areas
7. low genetic variation - high homozygosity can cause problems in captivity and in wild populations
8. seasonal migration - migration makes species dependent on mutiple habitats and creates political complications
9. low resilience - species with low reproductive potential respond to conservation efforts slowly
10. aggregation - periods of aggregation make species vulnarable to exploitation or habitat change
11. hunting or persecution by humans - humans can place enormous pressure on exploited populations
 
III. HABITAT LOSS AND FRAGMENTATION
A. Introduction (pp. 213-217)
B. Examples (pp. 217-230)
1. degradation - degradation, which reduces habitat suitability, is a pervasive outcome of human activity
2. loss (Table 9.4, Fig. 9.3, 9.4, 9.6) - the complete loss of habitat is most dramatic in tropical forests
3. fragmetation (Fig. 9.8) - patchy degradation or loss result in pervasive fragmentation
C. The Consequences of Loss and Fragmentation (pp.230-241)
1. scale - the impact of fragmentation depends on the scale of the disturbance and the scale at which organisms respond to the environment
2. negative effects - fragmentation of habitat can have a variety of negative impacts
a. initial exclusion
b. insularization
c. barriers to movement (Fig. 9.12, 9.14)
d. crowding
e. small populations
f. edge effects (Fig. 9.10, 9.13)
3. fragmentation versus heterogeneity - the negative effects of fragmentation should be distinguished from the possible beneficial effects of habitat heterogeneity
D. Consequences of Degradation and Global Change (pp. 241-263)
1. pollution (Box 16, Fig. 9.18) - there are several well-documented cases of pollution endangering species
2. global climate (Table 9.5, Fig. 9.22, 9.23) - climate change looms as a cause of biodiversity loss by altering distribution of habitats
E. Case Histories (pp. 227-229)
1. Neotropical migrant birds (Box 17, Fig. 9.15) - forest fragmentation in the east has impacted migrants by increasing nest predation and nest parasitism
2. Bighorn sheep - bighorn sheep are vulnerable to fragmented landscapes because they move long distances for food and water
3. Montane mammals - montane mammal diversity in the west shows the long-term effects of fragmentation and isolation
 
IV. OTHER THREATS
A. Invasive Species (pp. 276-285)
1. characteristics of invasives (Fig. 10.3)
2. impacts of exotics (Fig. 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, 10.7, 10.8)
3. what species and communities are at risk?
B. Overexploitation (pp. 265-276)
1. introduction (Fig. 10.1, Table 10.1)
2. types of exploitation
3. consequences
C. Disease (pp. 285-291)
1. examples
2. principles (Fig. 10.9)
 
V. SMALL POPULATIONS
A. Introduction (pp. 300-301)
B. Genetics (pp. 302-317)
1. genetic variation (Fig. 11.5)
2. loss of genetic variation
a. genetic drift (Fig. 11.3, 11.4)
b. Wahlund effect
c. effective population size (Fig. 11.9)
d. consequences (Fig. 11.5, 11.6, 11.7)
C. Demographics (pp. 298-299, 321-328, 348-351)
1. metapopulations (Fig. 12.7, 12.8)
2. source vs. sinks
3. demographic stochasticity
D. Minimum Viable Population (pp. 298-299, 344-347)
1. concept
2. application
E. The Extinction Vortex (pp. 325-326; Fig. 11.5)
 
VI. SOLUTIONS
A. Alternative Approaches
B. Habitat Preserves (pp. 415-439, 447-469)
1. introduction (Fig. 15.1)
2. creating habitat preserves
a. types of protection
b. designing a habitat preserve (Fig. 15.2, 15.3, 15.4, 15.6, 15.7, 16.1, 16.2, 16.3, 16.8; Table 15.2)

 


 
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