4-29-08 notes - Notes Conservation biology integrates these...

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April 29, 2008 Notes Conservation biology integrates these fields: Ecology Evolutionary biology Physiology Molecular biology Genetics Animal behavior -Goal of conservation biology is to conserve biological diversity at all levels The biodiversity crisis Scientist described 1.8 million species Between 10-200 million undescribed species Not evenly distributed Tropical forests have highest number of species and are undergoing widespread destruction o Example: between 1990 and 2005, Brazil cleared over 42 million hectares, an area the size of California The 6 th mass extinction on Earth? o Current extinction rates estimated to be 1000 times higher than in the past 100,000 years Human activities threaten biodiversity Rates of species extinction are difficult to determine under natural conditions o Because humans impact nearly everything o If we don’t know how many species there are to begin with, we don’t know how many we are really driving away o We don’t always know where to look to see if they are actually extinct
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