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Biodiversity & Conservation Biology Global biodiversity is threatened by the extinction of more & more species l Biodiversity is a measure of the number.

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Presentation on theme: "Biodiversity & Conservation Biology Global biodiversity is threatened by the extinction of more & more species l Biodiversity is a measure of the number."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Biodiversity & Conservation Biology

3 Global biodiversity is threatened by the extinction of more & more species l Biodiversity is a measure of the number and abundance of different species in a given area l Rapid extinction of species can reduce local and global biodiversity irreversibly…why is this important? What is the value of species biodiversity?

4 Extinction is a natural phenomenon l What is so different about current extinctions? – –Current rate of extinction is very high and – –Current rate of extinction is associated with the behavior of just one species….yes, you guessed it: Humans!

5 The Global Biodiversity Crisis Major threats to global biodiversity: habitat destruction & pollution introduction of non-native species over-exploitation of wildlife

6 Habitat Alteration by Humans is the Greatest Threat to Biodiversity l Burning of rainforest land to clear for farming l Urban development l Strip Mining l Logging l Pollution: toxic waste disposal, oil spills l Burning of fossil fuels contributes to pollution and Global Warming

7 Non-native Species Can Wreak Havoc on Ecosystems l The spread of Non-native (aka Exotic or Alien) species has increased as humans have become more mobile –In some cases the introduction of an exotic species was done deliberately, in others it has occurred inadvertently

8 What is the story with Cane Toads in Australia??! Cane toads were introduced to Australia from Hawaii in the 1930’s to control the Cane Beetle, which was destroying the Sugar Cane crop. What happened?

9 Asian Longhorn Beetle has arrived in Massachusetts! l The Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) is an invasive pest from Asia that came to the United States concealed in solid wood packing material (the pallets and crates used to transport goods from overseas). l The ALB attacks and eventually kills American hardwoods, such as maple, ash, birch, willow, poplar, and elm trees by boring into trunks and branches during its larvae stage. l Early detection of infestations and rapid treatment response are crucial to successful eradications of the beetle. l Human transport is a prime source of ALB infestation. So it is important to refrain from moving wood out of ALB quarantine areas. l If the ALB were to become established here it could be one of the most destructive and costly invasive species ever to enter the United States. It threatens urban and suburban shade trees and recreational and forest resources valued at hundreds of billions of dollars. l Quoted from:

10 Other Infamous “Aliens” l _________ introduced to Australia by Brits, for food and sport hunting (1859) –Rabbits did what rabbits do… they multiplied rapidly –Overpopulation of rabbits ensued (no natural predators in Australia) and vegetation became overgrazed in many areas, leading to desertification of grasslands Rabbits

11 Overexploitation of Wildlife has also accelerated extinctions l Hunting of various species for sport and/or profit has decimated several species to dangerously low numbers… –African Elephants (hunted esp. for ivory tusks) –Black Rhinoceroses (hunted for their horns) –Siberian Tigers (hunted for their fur & claws) –Whales (hunted for blubber/oil & meat)

12 U.S. Protection of Endangered Species l ______________________ (1973): to protect plant or animal species in danger of extinction –Authorizes National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) to ID and list all endangered & threatened species –Prohibits catching or killing of protected animals, prohibits uprooting of protected plants on Federal land. Prohibits sale or trade of any part of a protected species –Prohibits Federal Gov’t. from carrying out any project that jeopardizes an endangered species –Requires US Fish & Wildlife to prepare Recovery Plans for all protected species Endangered Species Act

13 Hotspot Approach to Preserving Habitats l A high priority of conservation efforts in the wild is the identification & protection of sites with a high concentration of species diversity ___________ ________ are the most biologically diverse areas of the globe. They usually have a large number of endemic species (meaning they are found nowhere else in the world). Biodiversity hotspots


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