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Chapter 55
Conservation Biology
Biodiversity crisis
Extinction ~ natural
phenomenon, however, rate is of
50% loss of species when 90%
of habitat is lost
Major Threats:
Habitat destruction ~ single
greatest threat; cause of 73% of
species designation as extinct,
endangered, vulnerable, rare; 93%
of coral reefs
Competition by exotic (nonnative) species ~ cause of 68%
of species designation as extinct,
endangered, vulnerable, rare; travel
Overexploitation ~ commercial
harvest or sport fishing; illegal
Biodiversity: Human welfare
25% of all medical
 Genetic variability
 Aesthetic and ethical
 Species survival
Conservation biology focus
Preservationism: setting side select
areas as natural and underdeveloped
Resource conservation: public
lands to meet the needs of agriculture and
extractive industries, i.e., ”multiple use”
Evolutionary / ecological view:
natural systems result from millions of
years of evolution and ecosystem
processes are necessary to maintain the
Geographic distribution of
Energy availability ~ solar
Habitat heterogeneity ~
environmental patchiness
Niche specialization ~
narrow resource range
Population interactions ~
complex population interactions
Population & species level conservation
Biodiversity hot spot: small area
with an exceptional concentration of
Endemic species: species found
nowhere else
Endangered species: organism
“in danger of extinction”
Threatened species: likely to
become endangered in the foreseeable
Bioremediation: use of living
organisms to detoxify polluted systems