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Lecture17BILD

Lecture17BILD - Conservation Why conserve biodiversity...

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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?
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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 bacteria 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 preferentially on mussels but will 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 eventually took over the rock face and eliminated most other invertebrates and algae. In a control area from which Pisaster was not removed, there was little 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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5 Four Major Threats to Biodiversity Most species loss can be traced to four major threats – Habitat destruction – Introduced species – Overexploitation
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