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Biodiversity and

Conservation
Mark Madden and Edward Sarisley
MCLFS 660

Overview
Part I: Characteristics of Biodiversity
Part II: Causes of Biodiversity Loss
Part III: Solutions of Biodiversity Loss

http://www.mepa.org.mt/outlook3-article9

Part I: What is
Biodiversity?
Biodiversity-the variety of life at the levels
of genes, populations, species, and ecological
communities[4]
Genetic Diversity-variety of genes within a
species[16]
Species Diversity-variety of species within a
habitat or region[16]
Ecosystem Diversity- diversity of ecosystems
in a given place[16]

Part I: What is Biodiversity?


Why Preserve it?
Healthy Ecosystems
Provide:
Ecosystem Services
Erosion Protection
Nutrient Storage and
Recycling
Pollution
Breakdown/Absorption
Contributes to Climate
Stability

Biological Services
Medicine
Wild Genetic Varieties
Future Resources

Social Benefits
Ecotourism
Research/Education[15]

Part II: Causes of Biodiversity


Loss
Habitat Loss
Exotic/Invasive Species
Chemical Pollutants
Over-Hunting
Loss of Genetic Diversity

http://www.biodiv.be/biodiversity/threats

Part II: Causes of Biodiversity


Loss: Habitat Loss
The #1 threat to biodiversity[9]
95% of Earth is under human influence[7]
3% of land designed as protected[7]
.25% of the worlds bodys of water are
protected[8]

Part II: Causes of Biodiversity


Loss: Invasive Species
Invasive Species-introduced species that thrives,
spreads, and becomes so abundant that it harms
native species or ecosystems[4]
Case Study: Kudzu Vine (Pueraraia lobata)
Farmers were encouraged to plant to reduce soil erosion
Herbivores didnt eat; outcompeted native species
Currently covers 7 million acres in the US[9]

Case Study: Lionfish (Pterois volitans and Pterois


miles)
Native to Indonesia/Pacific Ocean; Introduced into the
Caribbean

Part II: Causes of Biodiversity


Loss: Invasive Species
Kudzu

Lionfish
Interview w/ NOAA Scientist)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/
commons/4/4c/Kudzu_on_trees_in_Atl
anta,_Georgia.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4c/Co
mmon_lionfish_at_Shaab_El_Erg_reef_
%28landscape_crop%29.JPG

Part II: Causes of Biodiversity


Loss: Chemical Pollutants
Chemical Selectivity: many pesticides used
in agriculture are toxic to a broad-range of
species; others are selective and only toxic to
a small group of species
Case Studies:
Glyphosphate (active ingredient in Round Up
Herbicide-used on crop and non-crop
vegetation where total vegetation control is
desired[10]
Picadarin (Insect Repellent)-targets some insect
species and not others[11]

Part II: Causes of Biodiversity


Loss: Chemical Pollutants
Persistence in Environment-chemicals
that persist in the environment (resist
environmental degradation) are referred to as
Persistent Organic Pollutants[12]

Average Persistence of Organochlorine Pesticides in Soil[6]

Part II: Causes of Biodiversity


Loss: Chemical Pollutants
Bioaccumulationaccumulation of a chemical
in the adipose fatty tissue
of an individual organism[9]
Biomagnificationaccumulation of chemical
compounds in plant and
animal tissue that
increases in higher levels
of the food chain[4]
Biomagnification vs. Bioac
cumulation Animation
http://www.currentscienceevent.org/wp-

Part II: Causes of Biodiversity


Loss: Over-Harvest
Overharvest-harvest that exceeds the
productive capacity of a species and causes
population decline[4]
Can occur with crops, plants, animals, or any
natural resource
Case Study: Whaling
Hunted for blubber, oil, meat, baleen
1930: 50,000+ whales a year were hunted with
modern techniques
1986: International Whaling Ban*

Part II: Causes of Biodiversity


Loss: Over-Harvest

http://assets.panda.org/img/original/whales_killed_graph.png

Part II: Causes of Biodiversity


Loss: Genetic Diversity
Artificial Selection/Selective Breedingsaving crop seeds that have the trait(s) of
interest to plant for the next generation
Began 10,000 years ago with modern
agriculture
75% of the genetic diversity of agricultural
crops has been lost[14]

http://www.doctortee.com/dsu/tiftickjian/cse-img/biology/evolution/mustard-

Part II: Causes of Biodiversity


Loss: Genetic Diversity
Genetically Engineered Crops-transfer of
DNA segments (for pesticide resistance, frost
resistance, etc) from one species to another[4]
Examples:
Monstanto: Roundup Ready Herbicide Resistant
Seeds
Golden Rice: Enzymes needed to make betacarotene (Vitamin A)

PBS NOVA: Engineer a Crop

Part III: Solutions to


Biodiversity Loss
Choosing Sites to Preserve
SLOSS Controversy
Wildlife Corridors
Genetic Variability
Captive Breeding Programs
Sustainable Agriculture
Human Population

Part III: Solutions to


Biodiversity Loss: Choosing
Sites to Preserve
Biological Hotspots-areas to focus
conservation efforts through establishing
parks/reserves. Based on:
# Vascular Plant Species
# Endemic Plants
How much habitat is threatened by humans[1]

Challenges to Biological Hotspots


Assumes habitats rich in plants are also rich in
animals
Discrimination to temperate/arctic ecosystems [1]

Part III: Solutions to


Biodiversity Loss: Choosing
Sites to Preserve
34 Biodiversity Hotspots Identified by Conservation International

http://cnx.org/contents/185cbf87-c72e-48f5-b51e-f14f21b5eabd@9.66:251/Biology

Part III: Solutions to


Biodiversity Loss: Choosing
Sites to Preserve
Gap Analysis-identifies places of
conservation through geographic information
systems
Combines maps of rare, threatened, and
common species, with maps of vegetation and
habitat types to predict distribution of species
Current maps of reserves are compared to
predictions to identify areas that do not overlap
(gaps)
Critics: satellite image quality is too low; how
valid is extrapolating plants to animals [2]

Part III: Solutions to


Biodiversity Loss: SLOSS
Controversy
SLOSS-Single Large or Several Small
Reserves
Based on Macarthur and Wilson (1967)s Theory
of Island Biogeography
Would more species be maintained in 1, 100 ha
preserve or 10, 10 ha acre preserves?
No Single Answer
Depends on each ecosystem and the species
within them
Edge Effects-differences in environmental and
biotic conditions between the edges and interiors
of habitat patches [4]

Part III: Solutions to


Biodiversity Loss: SLOSS
Controversy

http://www.zo.utexas.edu/faculty/sjasper/images/edges2.
jpg

Part III: Solutions to


Biodiversity Loss: Wildlife
Corridors
Wildlife Corridors-narrow strip of linear
habitat that facilitates dispersal of organisms
between patches of larger habitat patches[4]
Case Study: Florida panther (Puma concolr
coryi)
Tunnels under highways have been constructed
linking habitat patches

Habitat corridors Benefit Isolated Plants

http://www.wildlifeandroads.org/media/images/gallery/fldot_panther.jpg

Part III: Solutions to


Biodiversity Loss: Wildlife
Corridors

http://nac.unl.edu/buffers/images/guide/2.3a.jpg

Potential Downsides
No use

Humans use for recreation instead

Ambush predators

Example: Diamond rattlesnake (Crotalus


adamanteus)

Facilitate Homogeneity instead of


heterozygosity

Part III: Solutions to


Biodiversity Loss: Genetic
Variability
Effective Population Size (N e)-minimum population
size in which the % of alleles do not change
significantly through generations
Buffers the effects of genetic drift
Equation: [Ht/Ho]=1-[1/2Ne]t
Ht=Heterozygosity after t generations
Ho=Original Heterozygosity
Assumes no generational overlap and all individuals breed

Smaller Populations,
Faster heterozygosity declines
Greater chances of genetic drift
Greater chances of inbreeding [3]

Part III: Solutions to


Biodiversity Loss: Genetic
Variability
Effect Population Size Practice Problem
Calculate the effective population size of the
Florida panther to retain 98% heterozygosity
over 100 generations.
1. [Ht/Ho]=1-[1/2Ne]t
2. .95=1-[1/2Ne]100
3. .95=e-100/2Ne
4. Ne=4,950 individuals

Part III: Solutions to


Biodiversity Loss: Captive
Breeding
Captive Breeding-the removal of all or
some of the remaining individuals from a wild
population to a facility where young can be
produced and cared for, with the objective of
creating large numbers of individuals for rerelapse into the wild
Genetic Diversity should be preserved by:
More adults
Even sex ratio
Pedigree tracking to prevent inbreeding[4]

Part III: Solutions to


Biodiversity Loss: Captive
Breeding
A Success Story: California Condor
(Gymnogyps californianus): Ate lead
ammunition left behind by hunters
1986: 8 remained in the wild; all captured and
captive breeding program began
2008: 320 individuals; half released into the wild

Critics
Doesnt address the root problem (habitat loss,
invasive species, pollution, lack of food, etc
Genetic Drift/Bottleneck Effect
Costly[4]

Part III: Solutions to


Biodiversity Loss: Captive
Breeding
California Condor on Nationa
l Geographic

http://i.imgur.com/6z402wdh.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi
a/commons/a/a4/Condor_in_flight.JP
G

Part III: Solutions to


Biodiversity Loss:
Sustainable Agriculture
Sustainable Agriculture-maintains
agriculture productivity indefinitely
Guiding Features
Crop Rotation
Tillage Practices (Conserve soil/water)
Diversified Operations
Integrated Pest Management[6]

Part III: Solutions to


Biodiversity Loss: Human
Population
World Population must stabilize in order to
sustain global biodiversity indefinitely
But how? Increase Quality of Life
Empower women to control their own fertility
Education and economic opportunities
Contraceptives[4]

The raging monster upon the land is


population growth. In its presence,
sustainability is but a theoretical construct.Wilson (1992)[5]

Part III: Solutions to


Biodiversity Loss: Human
Population
Population Connection World Population
US Census World Population Estimate

http://www.census.gov/population/international/data/idb/images/worldpop.pn

Part III: Solutions to


Biodiversity Loss: Laws
National Environmental Policy Act
Provides for the consideration of environmental
issues in Federal Agency planning and decision
making
Environmental Impact Statement
Required for projects on federal land or federal
projects on private land
Cost vs. benefit analysis
Weighs positive outcomes of project vs.
environmental effects[6]

Part III: Solutions to


Biodiversity Loss: Laws
Endangered Species Act
Protects all endangered or threatened species
and their habitats
Unlawful to kill, disturb, possess, or sell a listed
species[6]

10 Critically Endangered Animals

Part III: Solutions to


Biodiversity Loss: How Can
YOU Get Involved?
The Student Conservation Association
Endangered, Threatened, and Special Concern
Species in CT
Unit Assignment: Biodiversity and
Conservation in Coral Reefs

References
[1] Myers, N. 1988. Threatened biotas: Hot spots in
tropical forests. Environmentalist 8: 187-208., 1990
[2] Schmidt, K. 1996. Biodiversity: Some biologists see
holes in gap analysis. Science 274: 917.
[3] Futuyma DJ. 1986. Evolutionary Biology, 2 nd Ed.
Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Assoc., Inc.
[4] Kareiva P and Marvier M. 2011. Conservation Science:
Balancing the needs of people and nature. 1 st ed.
Greenwood Village, CO: Roberts and Company Publishers
[5] Wilson EO. 1992. The Diversity of Life. New York, NY:
WW Norton and Company.

References
[6] Bottrell, D. 2015. Modules in the MCLFS 660
Course. University of Maryland.
[7] Western, D. 1989. Why manage nature? In
Conservation for the Twenty-First Century, eds. D
Western, MC Pearl, pp. 133-37. New York, NY: Oxford
University Press.
[8] Ocean Voice International. 1995. Status of the
world ocean and biodiversity. Sea Wind 9: 1-72.
[9] Friedland, A, Relyea, R, and Courard-Hauri, D.
2012. Environmental Science for AP. New York, NY.
W.H. Freeman and Company

References
[10] Technical Fact Sheet on: Glyphosphate. nd. Environmental
Protection Agency. Retrieved 2/15/15 from: http://
www.epa.gov/ogwdw/pdfs/factsheets/soc/tech/glyphosa.pdf
[11] Technical Fact Sheet: Picadarin. 2005. Environmental
Protection Agency. Retrieved 2/15/15 from: http://
www.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/reg_actions/registratio
n/fs_PC-070705_01-May-05.pdf
[12] Ritter L, Solomon KR, Forget J. Stemeroff M; O'Leary
C.Persistent organic pollutants".United Nations Environment
Programme. Retrieved2/15/15 from http://
www.chem.unep.ch/pops/ritter/en/ritteren.pdf
[13] History of Whaling. 2015. Whale Facts. Retreived 2/15/15
from http://www.whalefacts.org/history-of-whaling/

References
[14] Harvesting Natures Diversity. Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Retrieved 2/15/15 from: http://
www.fao.org/docrep/004/v1430e/V1430E04.htm
[15] Shah A. 2014. Why is biodiversity important? Who
cares? Global Issues. Retrieved 2/15/15 from: http://
www.globalissues.org/article/170/why-is-biodiversity-i
mportant-who-cares
[16] Australian Museum. 2009. What is Biodiversity?
Retrieved 2/15/15 from: http://
australianmuseum.net.au/what-is-biodiversity .