Lecture 17

Lecture 17 - Conservation Why conserve biodiversity? Levels...

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1 Conservation • Why conserve biodiversity? • Levels of biodiversity • Threats to biodiversity • Conservation science: application of our understanding of biological systems • Conservation Science – integrates the following fields to conserve biological diversity at all levels – Ecology – Evolutionary biology – Physiology – Molecular biology – Genetics – Behavioral ecology – Lets not forget economics, political science, urban and rural planning, etc. Why conserve? • Human uses of genes and species • Importance of key species to community structure • Ecosystem services • Biophilia • Any more?
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2 Benefits of Species and Genetic Diversity • Many pharmaceuticals – Contain substances originally derived from plants Figure 55.4 This periwinkle from Madagascar is the source of a cancer treatment • Gila monster saliva contains a compound that binds to insulin receptors, making them more sensitive to insulin • This compound was the inspiration for exenatide, now approved for treatment of type II diabetes. Dr. John Eng DNA polymerase from the archaebacteria Thermus aquaticus from Yellowstone • Helped spawn the biotech industry • Is used every day in research laboratories for medical and other discoveries
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3 (a) The sea star Pisaster ochraceous feeds preferential y on mussels but wil consume other invertebrates. With Pisaster (control) Without Pisaster (experimental) Number of species present 0 5 10 15 20 1963 ´64 ´65 ´66 ´67 ´68 ´69 ´70 ´71 ´72 ´73 (b) When Pisaster was removed from an intertidal zone, mussels eventual y took over the rock face and eliminated most other invertebrates and algae. In a control area from which Pisaster was not removed, there was lit le change in species diversity. Key Species • Without them, community may collapse The lesser long-nosed bat pollinates the cardon cactus, a dominant feature of the landscape of Baja California and parts of Sonora Ecosystem Services
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4 • Ecosystem services include – Purification of air and water – Detoxification and decomposition of wastes – Cycling of nutrients – Moderation of weather extremes – Pollination – And many others • We get these services for free. Should we charge for their removal? • How do we place a value on such services, such that we can place a cost on their destruction? Biophilia • Love for biology (can you feel the love or do you just want this quarter to end?) • Humans have developed in close contact with biological diversity • Its loss and homogenization will be, for humans, akin to losing art and music and cultural diversity from the human experience • However, biophilia may eventually motivate a realignment of our environmental priorities Three Levels of Biodiversity – Genetic diversity – Species diversity – Ecosystem diversity Genetic diversity in a vole population Species diversity in a coastal redwood ecosystem Community and ecosystem diversity across the landscape of an entire region Figure 55.2
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Lecture 17 - Conservation Why conserve biodiversity? Levels...

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