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Why Conservation

Because we have to.
-even a slight increase in temp can have detrimental effects on our planet (Australia bush fires, melting of the Himalayan glaciers- where we get a lot of our fresh water, many homes lost to flooding leading to millions of refugees, droughts- shortages in global grain and meat markets(have to feed the herds and fertile ranch land turns to desert), hurricanes)
• >83% of the Earth bears our ‘ecological footprint’
• 98% of fertile lands have been transformed
->vast majority of populations and species of plants and animals – key working parts of human life support systems – are in decline, and many are already extinct.”


What is Conservation Biology?

• emerged in the mid-1980s
• New field focused on understanding, protecting,
and perpetuating biological diversity at all scales
and all levels of biological organization.
• Emergence reflects more recent developments in
an array of biological sciences (ecology, genetics,
evolutionary biology, etc.) and natural resource
management fields (forestry, wildlife and fisheries
management, etc.
- It was conceived as a “mission- oriented” field based discipline in the biological sciences


what is a COSEWIC report?

COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) bases its status assessments primarily on status reports. A status report is a comprehensive technical report that compiles and analyzes the best available information on a wildlife species’ status in Canada and indicates the threats to that wildlife species1.


what is SARA? how is the government involved?

Species at Risk Act
•Key tool for conservation and protection of Canada’s biological diversity
->provides legal protection for species at risk will
complement existing legislation
• Government of Canada is committed to
conserving biological diversity and to the
principle that,
– if there are threats of serious or irreversible damage
to a wildlife species, cost-effective measures to
prevent the reduction or loss of the species should
not be postponed for a lack of full scientific certainty
– this responsibility is shared among governments
within Canada
-> It is a piece of Canadian federal legislation which became law in Canada on December 12, 2002. It is designed to meet one of Canada's key commitments under the International Convention on Biological Diversity.


what is the purpose of SARA?

*The goal of the Act is to protect endangered or threatened organisms and their habitats
– To prevent wildlife species from being extirpated
or becoming extinct
– To provide for the recovery of wildlife species that
are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a
result of human activity
– To manage species of special concern to prevent
them from becoming endangered or threatened


Scope of SARA?

• listed aquatic species and their critical habitat
• listed migratory birds and their critical habitat
• other listed species and their critical habitat on:
• federal lands
• provincial and territorial lands if “safety net” is used
ex: The B.C. government has approved the shooting of one species of owl in a last-ditch effort to save their endangered cousins, as the number of northern spotted owls continues to decline


SARA--elements ?

• Stewardship
• Science based species assessment by COSEWIC
• Listing process
• Protection measures
• Public participation
• Enforcement measures
• Offences and punishment
• Alternative measures
• Public registry


1. SARA: Stewardship

• Stewardship action plan
• Conservation agreements with any government,
organization or person for measures to:
– protect species at risk and their critical habitats
– develop and implement recovery strategies, action
plans and management plans
– conserve wildlife species not at risk, to prevent them
from becoming “at risk”
• Funding agreements to help cover costs of
conservation actions


2. SARA: science based species assessment

• Assessment must be based on status reports
Gives COSEWIC legal basis as it is not a legal report on its own but it can trigger legal action (via SARA)
– Uses the best available biological information
• Scientific knowledge
• Community knowledge
• Aboriginal traditional knowledge
COSEWIC must assess within 1 year after it receives a
status report


what is the CESCC?

CESCC (Canadian Endangered Species
Conservation Council)
=Minister of the Environment, the Minister of
Fisheries and Oceans, the Minister responsible for
the Parks Canada Agency and ministers of the
government of a province or a territory who are
responsible for the conservation and management of
a wildlife species in that province or territory


3. SARA: listing process

the minister of the environment receives species assessments from COSEIWC at least once per year and then publishes a response statement on the SARA public registry where he or she indicates how they will respond to the assessment and sometimes give a timeline for action. The minister of the environment forwards the assessments to the government of council (which is also the minister of the environment) for receipt and they decide whether or not to list the species under schedule 1 of SARA or refer the assessment back to COSEWIC for further info or consideration. once a species has been added to schedule 1, it benefits from the applicable provisions of SARA


what is an Emergency Listing?

• If there is an imminent threat to the survival
of a species
– any person may apply to COSEWIC for an
assessment of the threat, or
– the Minister may make a recommendation to the
GiC to List the species as an endangered species
• As soon as possible after listing, COSEWIC
must have a status report prepared


4. SARA: Protection Measures

• General Prohibitions- No harming wildlife species listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened or their home

• Mandatory Recovery Planning-co-operation
with other orders of government, wildlife management
boards, aboriginal organizations, consultation with landowners, etc.
– Identification of the threats to the survival of the
species and to its habitat
– Broad strategy to address those threats
– Measures to protect the species’ critical habitat

• Protection of Critical Habitat
• Agreements and Permits
• Project Review
• Emergency Orders
• Exceptions


5. SARA: Public participation

Anyone has a right to:
– apply to COSEWIC for an assessment of
• the status of a species
• the threat (for the purpose of having the species listed
as endangered on an emergency basis)
– comment on proposed recovery strategies, action
plans and management plans prior to their


why are some species left out from being listed? which ones?

there are biases in which species get listed:
marine fishes and Nunavut species rarely listed as well as species that are subject to recreational, commercial or aboriginal harvest


what is the SARA sieve?

out of the 384 species that are listed under SARA needing recovery plans, only 6 (2% of 384) have action plans.
it reflects incomplete and ineffective implantation (not limitations within the legislation)
->puts into question, are species better off with SARA or without? is SARA working?
-> To date there are now 59 finalized plans
• 5 Delayed • 15 Finalization delayed



• International Union for the Conservation of Nature –
– helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges


how is the IUCN used?

->guide scientific research
->inform policy and conventions
-> shows where action needs to be taken tp save the building blocks of nature from extinction
• Informs Resource Allocation
• Informs Conservation Planning
• Improves Decision-making
• Increases awareness and education


what is CITES

convention on international trade in endangered species
• CITES is an international agreement to which
States (countries) adhere voluntarily
• There are now 177 states/parties to the
• The species covered by CITES are listed in three
– according to the degree of protection they need.


describe the 3 appendices of CITES

– Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction.
• Trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in
exceptional circumstances.
– Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened
with extinction
• however trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival.
– contains species that are protected in at least one
country, which has asked other CITES Parties for
assistance in controlling the trade


define Biodiversity and list the three basic levels of biodiversity

the variability among living things from all sources
1. genetic diversity- populations, individuals, chomos, genes, nucleotides
2. Ecological diversity- biogeographic realms, bioms, provinces, ecosystems, habitats, populations
3. organismal diversity- domains/kingdom, phyla, families, genera, species, subspecies, populations, individuals


what is Genetic diversity?

• encompasses the components of the genetic coding that structures organisms
– Nucleotides, genes, chromosomes
• variation in the genetic make-up between individuals within population and between populations
->The raw material on which evolutionary
processes act.


describe genetic diversity at the gene level

- Different alleles are created by mutations
- Mutations are rare
- Can affect protein structure or not (silent)
- Generally deleterious


describe genetic diversity at the Chromosome level

- Many versions of chromosomes are running around in a population
- New combinations of alleles are created by recombination, typically during meiosis
- Endless combinations
As a result of these processes, all individuals are different


why does fitness of individuals increase with
heterozygosity? *Significance of gen. diversity within individuals

- Heterozygotes do better: hybrid vigour
- Two versions of a gene (or protein) gives greater
flexibility (different versions of a protein help in changing
- Bad alleles can be compensated for by the better
- Some alleles on different loci work better together


what is genetic diversity within-population level

Definition: All the organisms of the same species living in the same geographic area and have the possibility of inter-breeding
- Distribution of the genetic diversity among the individuals of the population


what are the forms and origins of within-individual genetic diversity

forms: different versions (alleles) of a gene on a locus (heterozygote)
origins: mutations and sexual reproduction


what are the forms and origins of Genetic diversity
Within-population level?

- Number of polymorphic loci (locus with 2 or more alleles and allows for multiple possible genotypes and phenotypes )
- Heterozygosity
- Number of alleles for polymorphic loci (# of alleles per locus)
- Gene flow
- Mutations


how/why does population size relate to genetic diversity within population? give example

Heterozygosity/allele diversity go up with increasing population size
ex. Halocarpus bidwillii- the larger the population is, anticipated polymorphism (polymorphic loci), heterozygosity and allele number to go up
Ex common shrew- habitat for many species are being fragmented and lead to a reduction in genetic diversity as it leads to inbreeding-> Shew species are separated on the islands compared to the mainland and have less genetic diversity as a result.
Diversity increases with population size because:
1) Genetic drift and 2) bottlenecks and founder effects


what is genetic drift?

Genetic drift is a change in the frequency of an allele within a population over time. This change in the frequency of the allele or gene variation must occur randomly in order for genetic drift to occur.
( random change in allele frequency due to ‘sampling error’ during reproduction/ random changes in reproduction of the population)
- Especially important in small populations
- Results in allele loss
**2 types: bottleneck effect and founder effect (Population crashes and populations founded by a few
individuals will have reduced genetic diversity AND Strength of the effect will be proportional to the number
of survivors or the number of founders)


compare genetic drift in small and large populations

->The small population is more vulnerable to genetic drift as the random event has more chance to cause more change from the original compared to in the large population *There werent many representatives there in the first place (Don’t see as much genetic drift in the bigger population)
*could have less genetic diversity in the population for random reasons


what is the bottleneck effect?

you have some major disaster or event that kills off most of the population with few that survive by random chance (many of the alleles may have disappeared)
-if few survivors, even more chance of genetic drift as there is a smaller population


what is the founder effect?

effect because of the founders of an area. if some leave an area to go to another area, the founders of the new area may not be representative of all the alleles from their original area. if few founders, even more chance of genetic drift as there is a smaller population


what is Inbreeding depression?
*Within-population significance

populations at low levels of genetic diversity do poorly
- Possibility to adapt to a changing environment


Bigger, more diverse populations perform
better because ?

1) no inbreeding depression and
2) better equipped to cope with changing conditions


describe genetic diversity Among populations

Variation in the number of alleles present and the
frequency of different alleles among populations


Gene flow vs Connectivity? good or bad?

gene flow= migration of genes between populations
Connectivity= migration of individuals between populations
shrew- Fst values range from 0-1 (1= genetically dissimilar), the further they get away, the less genetically similar to each other (high Fst value)
•For small populations, gene flow is beneficial and help prevent problems associated with small effective population sizes.
•For already well differentiated populations, that are
already adapted to local conditions, gene flow can be
deleterious. Outbreeding depression


how does the dispersal ability of a species influence between population level of genetic differentiation?

more dispersion/more mobile -> more gene flow ->> less genetic differentiation between populations


what other factors may influence the genetic differentiation between populations?

- Structure of the habitat (or habitat patches)
influences connectivity.
->Barriers (rivers, roads, mountain ranges, etc…) increase differentiation and corridors decrease it.


what is outbreeding depression? example?

when crosses between two genetically distant groups or populations results in a reduction of fitness
ex: Capra ibex ibex, hunted to extinction, Later mixed with
subspecies from Turkey and Sinai and the hybrids gave birth in the middle of the winter (not adaptive)-> Went extinct again!!!


what is the Genetic diversity Among populations Significance?

- Different isolated populations are adapted to different
environmental conditions; thus increase the ability of a
species to cope with changing conditions
- Population isolation is ultimately the source of new
* Local adaptation and eventual source of new species. But, for small populations , gene flow is a good thing.


what are the forms, origins and patterns of genetic diversity among populations?

- Forms: variability in number and frequency of alleles
between populations
- Origins: population isolation
- Patterns: Disconnected populations (through low
mobility, barriers, etc…) differ more


Biological definition of species? what is the problem of that definition?

groups of actually or potentially interbreeding natural populations, which are reproductively isolated from other such groups
-hybrids (ex. liger)
-potential interbreeding is hard to evaluate
-some species reproduce asexually


what are the origins of species diversity?

Number of species changes over time as a function of relative importance of speciation and extinction rates
->Catastrophic events increase extinction rate, which can
surpass speciation rate: mass extinctions


why is it difficult to know how many species there are?

-There are places that are hard to explore (ex. high in the trees)
-there are new ecosystems
-there are cryptic species (many different species that look like the same species *think insects)
-poor knowledge


describe the ways to quantify and compare species diversity (3 types of diversity)

1) Alpha (α) diversity: the number of species found
within a specified small area (study area)
2) Gamma (γ) diversity: the number of species found
within a wide geographic area (entire landscape)
3) Beta (β) diversity: rate of change in number of
species as one moves from area to area:
Beta = Gamma / Alpha


compare alpha and beta diversity in a landscape with species that are locally and widely distributed (where gamma diversity is the same in both landscapes)

locally distributed landscape: has a low alpha diversity and a high beta diversity (specialists)
widely distributed landscape: has high alpha diversity and low beta diversity (generalists)


describe the parameters for the Species-area relationship equation -> S = cA^z

S is number of species, A is the area sampled and c and z are parameters to be estimated
->Log10 scale of equation gives a linear relationship
Y= a X + b (where b = log(c) and a=z)
->Species area relationships: Important for a management tools (ex. How big to make a park, to protect the sp.)


Simpson diversity index?

another species diversity indices-> considers the abundance of individuals of each species
-> pi is the proportion of total number of individuals
belonging to species i, and S is the total number of
->Ranges from 0 to 1: 0 being more diverse
*No index is perfect and a combination of many is the most


describe the factor of solar energy in latitudinal patterns of species diversity

More light in the tropics would result in higher primary productivity, which in turn could support a wider range of species. But productivity not always = diversity


describe the factor of area relationship in latitudinal patterns of species diversity

There is more space under tropical climate than other colder climate. Thus, more space = more species because lower extinction and higher speciation rates. But other biomes have equal area.


describe the factor of climate harshness and stability in latitudinal patterns of species diversity

Few species might be able to tolerate harsh conditions found at higher latitudes. Also, climate is more stable in the tropics (over geological times) allowing accumulation of more species over time.


describe the factor of evolutionary rate in latitudinal patterns of species diversity

Higher temperatures would result in faster speciation rates through an influence on mutation rates and species generation time
-Colder temp-> everything slowed down metabolically


describe the factor of niche hypothesis in latitudinal patterns of species diversity

Species in the tropics are competing with many others and have higher parasite loads (no winters to kill them). This would prevent some species to dominate and lead to niche specialization (they dont become better adapted to the environment and outcompete other species because of their parasite load)


describe the factor of Rappaport’s rule in latitudinal patterns of species diversity

Rappaport’s rule= Latitudinal ranges of plants and
animals are generally smaller at lower than at high
->Can pack more things into a larger area (more space in the topics)


how does species diversity relate to latitude?

The decrease in diversity when moving from lower latitudes towards higher latitudes is referred to as Latitudinal Diversity Gradient. Generally it is observed that the diversity richness is more in the areas near the equator than at the poles.
->Overall, a combination of the different hypotheses is
probably responsible for this pattern


what is an endemic species?

A species found naturally in a single geographic area and
no other place is endemic to that location


what is the Species diversity Functional significance?

- Area of great debate and uncertainty
Link between species diversity and ecosystem
->More species (each specialized on a specific resource)
will do a better job at exploiting all resources
available and hence increase productivity

Link between species diversity and ecosystem
->An ecosystem with high species diversity should be
able to cope with variable conditions better because
it has a wider range of tolerance (the sum of tolerance of all species in that system)


define community and ecosystem

Community: an assemblage/collection of populations of
different species that occupy a certain geographic area

Ecosystem: community + abiotic variables


what is Ecological/Community diversity largely driven by?

Largely driven by temperature and precipitation regimes


what is the functional significance of community diversity?

Functional significance is huge:
more types of communities–> more diversity
Sum of biotic and abiotic conditions is the ‘set in which
the actors (populations) evolve’


how do each of the levels of biodiversity relate to conservation?

-Little attention (changing now)
Problems with small populations= Inbreeding, founder effects, declining populations, fragmentation
-Public perspective is that it does not really matter
(can we change this?)

-‘Traditional’ unit for conservation efforts
-International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red
list (endangered, threatened, least concern)
-Can’t protect a species without preserving others it
depends on (Flagship species/biased and normally a charismatic large vertebrate and umbrella species/protecting these species indirectly protects the many other species that make up the ecological community of its habitat)

-Probably the most important and the best approach
-Killing two (or more) birds with one stone


define Global extinctions

is at the species level. No longer found anywhere in the world. (ex. Tasmanian Tiger)


Globally extinct species surviving in captivity?

At the species level, no longer found in natural conditions anywhere in the world


what are Local extinctions?

- Locally extinct: at the population level. No longer
found where it used to be, but can still be found
elsewhere. Synonymous to extirpated


what are Ecological extinctions?

- Ecologically extinct: at both species or population
level. So rare that it no longer serves an important
ecological role
ex. sea otters on west coast
- They like to eat sea urchins and therefore the kelp forests will grow/flourish as not as many urchins are eating the seaweed. The sea otters have a keystone role.



Ancient species that gave rise to new species no longer


Extinction by hybridization?

Not many documented examples, but thought to be very
possible. Occurs through complete mixing of a species,
subspecies, population, etc… with another.
ex. Capra ibex ibex (locally extinct)


What makes certain species more vulnerable to
extinctions? Five *general factors:

1- Narrow geographic range
2- One or a few populations
3- Small population size
4- Declining population size
5- Hunted or harvested by people


What makes certain species more vulnerable to
extinctions? Ten more *specific factors:

1- Large home range
2- Large body size
3- Not effective dispersers
4- Seasonal migrants
5- Little genetic variability
6- Specialized niche requirements
7- Form temporary aggregations
8- No prior contact with humans
9- Relatives went extinct


describe how large home range is a risk factor for extinction

Contradicts the narrow geographic range idea… It
relates to habitat degradation (fewer and fewer contiguous patches of habitat). Affects mostly mammals, especially predators.
ex. Male cougars have home range of ~ 1000 km2
->requires a lot of land mass


describe how large body size is a risk factor for extinction

Due to a combination of factors: including home range,
selective hunting, small population sizes, low reproductive rates, etc…


describe how not effective dispersers is a risk factor for extinction

•Unable to cope with changes in local conditions (natural disaster, etc.) so it would be nice if you could get out of there, if not then not good and could die
ex. butterflies that are good dispersers are less likely to be threatened


describe how being a seasonal migrant is a risk factor for extinction

they rely on 2 or more habitats… thus more likely to experience change
->You’re depending seasonally on habitat and food to travel large distances (takes a lot of energy)
•Ex. Delaware Bay- Horseshow crabs video, we have an impact during their seasonal migrations (also, They have to spawn on the beach for the Red Knot to survive).


describe how having little genetic diversity is a risk factor for extinction

•Cant deal with any environmental variability.


describe how having specialized niche requirements is a risk factor for extinction

•Ex. The orchid- need the bees to help with their pollination
-> limited window of survival


describe how species that form temporary aggregations is a risk factor for extinction, give examples

Close proximity of individuals increases vulnerability to
local catastrophes or to human exploitation
• Ex. The passenger pigeon (extinct north American bird that had massive flocks that turned the sky black, took 14 hours to pass. Were hunted on a massive scale-cheap food for slaves, etc.). Martha was the last one
• Ex. the buffalo (were slaughtered almost to extinction in 1800s where there was less than 1000, now there is 500,000)


describe how having no prior contact with humans is a risk factor for extinction

•Especially true for islands lacking predators. Flightlessness is not a good thing to be able to move out of an area
->But, of course sensitive species might already be extinct on long-occupied islands


describe how having relatives that went extinct is a risk factor for extinction

Taxonomic units often share a certain number of risk
factors therefore if relative went extinct, you’re likely at risk as well


Risk Evaluation:
what are some organizations involved in the assessment of species status?

1. International: International Union for Conservation of
Nature (IUCN)

2. Continental: Natural Heritage Network and Nature
Conservancy, NatureServe conservation status

3. National: Committee on the Status of Endangered
Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC)


Overview of pet cat problem

Estimated that cats are responsible for 100-350 million
bird kills per year
In the US it is 1-4 billion birds killed per year.
• 8.5 million pet cats
– Largest source of human related bird mortality in Canada
• 1.4-4.2 million feral cats
– Lack of information on feral cat predation
• Feral cats have been implicated in the extinction of at least 33 bird species


List the factors of the study you thought were potentially problematic

1. Unreported mortalities (house cats and feral cats)
2. Population estimates of feral cats may be underestimated
3. The data they got wasn’t from Canada (was it representative?)
4. High variability in the factors estimated
5. Underestimates of pet cats that have access to the outdoors
6. Inflated because there are other animals that kill birds (Did a bird hit a window, a cat found it and brought it home?)
7. Seasonal effects unaccounted for
8. All of Canada is not represented. Potential
geographic bias


If we still have cats
• What should we do? solutions?

• Limit time outside
• Leash (catio)
• Cat license—train owners
• PIT tags for cats—keep track of owner—fines
• More strict spay and neutering rules—no reproductive capacity without breeding licence
• Predator control
• Make cat indoor cat toys less expensive
• Bell on a cat
• Rainbow scrunchies
• Shock collar to reduce free range
• Increase rehabilitation efforts for feral cats
• Pet stores are only allowed to sell rehabilitated/feral cats
•Focus on protecting the birds (make bird friendly environment)


Should we have pets? what are the pros and cons?

• Comfort
• Service animals
• Teach responsibility
• Labour—pets in a way
– transportation
• Drug dogs
• Law enforcement
• Protection
• Chickens
• Entertainment

•Carry disease/parasites
• Exploitation of exotic or rare species
• Some are not domesticated
• Cost a lot of time and money
• Obligate carnivores create issues with climate change due to meat requirements (Increase carbon emissions)
• Dangerous animals— mortalities/injuries (pet snakes)
• Ethical treatment (some people don’t know how to care for their pet)
• Introduction of invasive species
• Good quality of life


what are the three goals of conservation biology ?

1)Document biological diversity-> - Origin, Ways to quantify, Patterns & Functional significance
2)Investigate human impacts on biological
systems (threats to biodiversity)
3)Develop approaches to minimize
anthropogenic impacts


Threats to biodiversity? 7

1- **Habitat destruction (or loss)
2- **Habitat degradation
3- Habitat fragmentation
4- Overexploitation
5- Species introduction
6- Spreading of diseases
7- Global warming


Habitat loss vs degradation

habitat loss definition: impacts so severe that all, or nearly all, species are adversely affected, or to cases where the
time span needed for recovery is extremely long

habitat degradation definition: impacts that affect many but not all species, and that may be temporary (although
many impacts are persistent at low-medium levels of
*Loss of biomes and ecosystems often around water as people like to be near water


what are some human threats to marine ecosystems?

coastal development, shrimp farms, trawl fishing(scrapes the marine floor?), commercial fishing and ports create pollution and introduce non-native species


how do organisms die from habitat loss?

Individuals are either killed directly or forced to migrate to
remaining habitat, where artificially inflated densities will
eventually take care of them.


Ecological footprint?

the influence of a group of human individuals has on the environment, measured as land area needed to sustain their needs
->more developed areas tend to have a bigger footprint-• Canada has a high footprint


what are biodiversity hotspots?

•Biodiversity hotspots: where about 50% of worlds species contained in 7% of the land


Describe habitat loss of tropical rainforests ? converted to? problems?

Initial size (16 million km2)
Approximately half is remaining. 1 % is destroyed
->Biodiversity hotspot

Land converted to:
- Pasture land
- Subsistence agriculture-when farmers grow food crops to meet the needs of themselves and their families
- Large-scale agriculture (monoculture= cultivation of a single crop in a given area)

- Top soil is thin and nutrient-poor because of rapid circulation of nutrients in natural forests (doesn't stay in soil for long)
- Rapid erosion and nutrient depletion
- Agricultural operations need to be moved after a short time
-Soil is nutrient poor and you burn it all up after agriculture and get the little nutrients that were there but it doesn’t come back fast


Describe habitat loss of tropical and temperate deciduous forests

- 97% of Madagascar’s tropical deciduous forests are gone
- Almost all of Europe’s old-growth forests are gone


Describe habitat loss of grasslands and savannahs. converted to? problems?

Between 1800 and 1950, > 95% of grasslands in USA
converted into farmland

Consequences inland:
-Regional and global changes in climate
-Water control and erosion


Describe habitat loss of freshwater ecosystems (wetlands). converted to? problems?

wetlands= swamps, marshes, bogs, vernal pools
-Can easily be drained and converted into cropland
-Many cities built on wetlands
-50% of US wetlands gone
-97% of vernal pools gone in some areas in California
-people dig ditches and allows water to come off wetland area-> create parking lot
-Peat moss removed by big tractors sucking them up and selling them as nice absorptive material


Describe habitat loss of freshwater ecosystems ( lakes and rivers). converted to? problems? The Aral Sea

• Soviet government diverted the Syr Darya and the Amu
Darya rivers for irrigation purposes. (the Aral Sea has been shrinking since the 1960s after the rivers that fed it were diverted by Soviet irrigation projects.)
• Salinity went from 10g/l to more than 100g/l.
• Water level has dropped over 23 meters.
• Was one of the four largest lakes in the world—68,000 km2
-The desiccation of the Aral Sea greatly increased the number of dust and salt storms in the area
-lead to local climate change: The result was shorter and hotter summers, longer and colder winters, and a decrease in precipitations
-The region's once-prosperous fishing industry has been devastated, bringing unemployment and economic hardship


Describe habitat loss of freshwater ecosystems ( lakes and rivers). converted to? problems? The mighty Colorado River

On the Water-Starved Colorado River, Drought Is the New Normal (from dams, irrigation and now climate change)
-A few wet years in a long dry spell would be critical these days to keep the Colorado from completely drying up
-Western states began divvying up the Colorado’s water, building dams and diverting the flow hundreds of miles to irrigate 3.5 million acres of cropland


Describe habitat loss of Marine environments. converted to? problems? ->mangrove forests

-Form in low energy coastal tropical areas, where
sediments accumulate
- Extremely important nursery habitat for fish and
crustaceans (exploited species)
- 35% of the world’s gone
-Research has shown mangroves are able to absorb between 70-90% of the energy from a normal wave (the trees mitigate the impact of a tsunami)
-Mangrove forests stabilize the coastline, reducing erosion from storm surges, currents, waves, and tides. The intricate root system of mangroves also makes these forests attractive to fish and other organisms seeking food and shelter from predators.



exclusive economic zone (EEZ)= is a seazone prescribed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea over which a state has special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources, including energy production from water and wind.

Cut down and converted in rice cultures, shrimp aquaculture basins


Describe habitat loss of Marine environments. converted to? problems? -> salt marshes

-Temperate equivalent of mangroves
-Thick cover of salt resistant herbaceous plants
-Highly productive habitat
-In the US: 50% gone


Describe habitat loss of Marine environments. converted to? problems? -> coral reefs

33% of marine fish diversity in 0.2% of the ocean’s area.
Mix of pollution, sedimentation, nitrogen addition, fishing, warming
resulted in 20% loss
• Impacted heavily- bleaching, massive loss of reefs, harvesting of coal (people use dynamite to fish and to get coal- bottom pic)
• Important area- biodiversity hotspot


Describe habitat loss of Marine environments. converted to? problems? ->continental shelf

Unregulated dredging/trawling =Great reduction in habitat complexity, Reef-forming species and bedrock flattened
-> forests of sponges and coal are gone and replaced with rows of mud, (these were a critical habitat for fish development)
On average, a single location is dredged 7 times a year in
the main fishing areas… no recovery possible


what is the Species-area relationships in terms of islands/mainlands?

islands contain fewer species than the
Also that number of species on an island
decreases as island area decreases.


define Richness

# of species (S)


what are Diversity indices?

when you only look at number
of species in a community you typically ignore
the fact that some species are rare and others
are common. Some have great biomass and
others little. A way to get around this problem is
to use the following indices (there are others):
1. Simpson’s index
2. Equitability (Evenness) E
3. Shannon Weaver diversity index H
4. and Equitability J


describe the three complementary approaches to
island biogeography

1. Concentrates on the suitability of islands as
habitats for various species ( habitat diversity).
2. Balance between the rate at which islands are
colonized by species new to an island and the
rate at which resident species go extinct on the
3. Considers the balance between colonization
from the outside of the island and the evolution
within it.


Most obvious reason why larger areas should
contain more species is ??

Larger areas typically encompass more different habitat types
Lack (1969b, 1976) suggested that the number of
species reflects the “type” of island within which
he included its climate and habitat. He suggested
that large islands contain more species because
they contain more habitats.


what are the problems of Lack's Island argument?

1. Lack studied birds, he proposed that the
reason a species did not colonize an island
was not from a failure to disperse but from a
failure to find the right habitat.
2. In addition his argument does not
acknowledge the importance of evolution
within the island itself.


what is MacArthur and Wilson’s equilibrium theory?

• Number of species on an island is determined
by the balance between immigration and
– and that this balance is dynamic (ongoing), with
species going extinct and being replaced (through
immigration) by the same or different species.


describe the relationship of immigration and extinction rates on an island

•Immigration rate is high when no species are present
and reaches 0 when all species from the source pool
are present.

• Extinction rate is 0 when there are no species on the
island and will generally be low with few species.
–> However we would expect a priori that extinction rate will increase at a more than proportionate rate because with more species competitive exclusion is to be more likely and population size on average will be smaller making extinction more probable.

->The number of species where the two curves cross is in dynamic equilibrium.


with the immigration/extinction model we can make a number of predictions:

• The number of species on an island should eventually
become roughly constant through time.
• This should be a result of continual turnover of species,
with some becoming extinct and others immigrating.
• Large islands should support more species than small
• Species number should decline with increasing
remoteness of an island.


define Habitat fragmentation

Large contiguous area of habitat is reduced in area and
divided in several isolated patches
-Reduction in population is not proportional to the decline in total area of habitat


what are Population Viability Analyses (PVA)

typically simulation models, based on real data, that projects population trends in time
-uses population growth rate, population size and carrying capacity to find rate of population change


what's the Minimum Viable Population (MVP)?

the smallest population that has a X probability of surviving over X years
-use extinction probabilities


what are the Problems with PVAs and MVPs?

0Require a tremendous amount of quality data to be
-Outcome is highly dependent on population model used,
and to parameters (e.g. carrying capacity)
-Assumes somewhat stable conditions in the future
->Lots of possible expansions and modifications… but very system-specific


whats the Allee Effect

Under a certain density (smaller populations), individuals can have difficulty finding a mate, thus reducing population growth, and increase the odds of extinction


Edge effect

=when two separate environments come in contact with each other(forest and city). Trees are more exposed to wind at the edges and can fall down and may have a domino effect as they expose more vulnerable trees behind it.

not all of the habitat area may be declining. Depends on a number of factors. When you fragment an area, you make more edges and make areas that may be more vulnerable to adversity as the environment changes.
'-Reduction in population is not proportional to the decline in total area of habitat

-small fragments have more edges and populations in these fragments may be more at risk to extinction because those fragments are experiencing more of an impact from the surrounding (the new ecosystem surrounding that patch) *native forest can implode/collapse
*they are no longer living in an environment that they're well adapted to but in an accommodation environment that they're adapted to as well as another environment


why may Fragmentation effects on assembly
processes be greater at smaller patch sizes

May be due to smaller patches being more
likely altered by changed environmental filters

Such shifts may have implications for:
– habitat structure, ecosystem function and
food web interactions in small remnant forests


edge effects on predation

Predation within the forest was very low, there was a natural cover and the birds had the ability to survive. When you get towards the edge, they got more vulnerable and eventually got whipped out


“Crowding of the Ark"?

After fragmentation, mobile species move to remaining
patches. In the long term, density dependent effects
will reduce densities.


Island Biogeography Theory?

For a while, large reserves became a paradigm in
conservation. Would feed species to smaller
surrounding fragments. BUT… assumption of the model
states that mainland populations never go extinct. So
basically, species will remain extant as long as it persists
on the mainland.
After the mid-90s, a new paradigm emerged:
Metapopulation theory: A population of populations


describe the Initial metapopulation model

=A large number of patches with equal quality, equally
->Populations go extinct and get colonized
->Arrows are potential for movement for the separate areas


Metapopulation Theory

=A population of populations
Main insight: survival of metapopulation exceeds survival of individual populations (each individual island/patch has a lower survivorship than the whole population)
-patches are able to be rescued as they move all over the place
-Occupancy depends on ratio of extinction/colonisation
• One population with low extinction and high colonization-> species will spread until all the “islands” are filled in
-Modern versions allow for variability in patch quality and isolation
->Parameters can be measured in the field
->Allows estimation of persistence time

Important insight: at equilibrium, model predicts a certain
proportion of patches will be unoccupied
• Although a certain patch may not contain a species you’re interested in, it is still an important component of the metapopulation because the species could be there in the future. (could be an exam question -should you protect other patches? YES!)
->A patch presently unoccupied is still an important
component of the metapopulation
->In many cases (especially long-lived species), we are
probably passed the threshold… extinction debt


Metapopulation Theory Conditions:

1) Habitat is distributed in discrete patches able to sustain
local breeding populations
2) Every patch has a non-zero probability of extinction
3) Within patch dynamics is independent of other patches
4) Migrations between patches occur and an empty patch can be recolonized
->Can be extremely useful to conservation biology.
-Warning: conditions must be met for a particular
species to be of any use


Natural vs human-induced metapopulations

Insects in a natural field are more likely to
behave as a metapopulation than birds in a fragmented
woodlot Caution is advised


Matrix ?

=space between adjacent habitat patches and has a
big influence on connectivity


Connectivity between patches: influence of Roads?

lead to:
Road kills
Behavioural modifications
Physical and chemical environment changes

->Can apparently be “prevented” by critter crossings


Connectivity between patches: influence of Corridors?

=physical connection between two patches of habitat that might be isolated by some intervening area that may be inhospitable
corridors: a) increase plant diversity, b) increase plant and animal dispersal, and c) corridor effects on dispersal can be predicted from knowledge of smaller-scale movement behaviour of animals, especially near habitat edges.
-can be natural or not
-usd to preserve biodiversity
-promotes movement of individuals between habitat fragments by connecting the two fragments (allows populations to interact with each other, breed with each other and expand/persist)
-also allows migration rates not to be interrupted

ex. Blueways are the sum of multiple migratory pathways used by various marine species across large ocean expanses such as the Gulf of Mexico. These heavily-travelled corridors are critical for connecting habitats and allowing species to migrate between nesting and feeding areas.


exploitation vs Overexploitation

exploitation= direct use of ecosystems for food, materials,
medicine, etc…
By definition, every ecosystem product is renewable (Often, humans perceive natural populations as unlimited resources)

Overexploitation-> arises when the yield is greater than
regeneration capacity of ecosystems
-Accentuated by increasing human population size/technology


Overexploitation examples

•We don’t see the giant fauna anymore as they no longer exist
•Stern trawlers-> drag huge nets and suck and capture everything up. They even cheat by putting liners in them (lines with hooks that catch the fish)
• Some species can be targeted because they are considered a nuisance to human activities (Ground squirrel/belugas)
o They killed the wolves as they thought they were killing cattle. Not all were and then they were putting the wolves in danger
-Dodos in Mauritius were mass slaughtered
-30-70 million American bisons & 3-5 billion passenger
pigeons killed almost to extinction during European colonization of North America


Orange Roughy overexploitation example?

• Called slimeheads because no one wanted to
eat them
• But as we fished down the waters—value increased
• Slow growing, late maturing
• Extremely susceptible to overfishing
• First exploited in Australia in the 1970’s
• Used hydroacoustic data to estimate population size
• Oops overestimated population size
• Complete collapse of the fishery


the Peruvian anchovy Fixed quota ex:

huge schools of fish due to upwelling (nutrient cycling within the water allowing phytoplankton to grow )
-Harvest well-regulated at around 10 M tons a year, ~ 1/5 of stock (20% of stock)
1972 El-nino event, upwelling stopped because the wind changed direction and brought nutrient poor water to where the Peruvian anchovy was (food for fish went down and so they went down but quota stayed the same)
Quota never reached, major collapse in subsequent


Proportional quotas?

management curve should be proportional instead of fixed because these curve all change with time and you'll have different size populations and therefore different yields
-the MSY drops down each time because it reflects the proportional quota
-Seems to make more sense, but dependent upon
reliable biological data and Actual curves are sometimes questionable at best! (problematic)


how is the allee affect (density dependent response) problematic to proportional quotas?
ex. Abalone and sea urchins

population will crash if it gets into the allee threshold zone because cant find individuals to mate with
catch per communal effort (CPCE)= how much effort is being made to catch the fish that you were able to catch ie 20 fish/day
-they are putting more and more time into it and not catching as many Abalone (CPCE going down)
-as they become more rare, the price goes up and there is more pressure to catch them


overexploitation Management

Wealthy countries learned from their mistakes, models
are getting better and data is more available and more
accurate. Collapses are less and less likely.
-But, research and enforcement of laws are expensive
-In many developing countries, there are no management
strategies or they are not enforced.
->Need to invoke the “Precautionary principle”


The precautionary principle/approach

• if an action or policy has a potential risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an act.
• In other words the burden of proof is not the
responsibility of the public, but the responsibility of the party which is wanting to engage in said activity


Lack of overexploitation management: Empty forest syndrome

Access to new areas through logging roads and
displacement of populations lead to more and more
intact habitat where animals have disappeared. The
bushmeat crisis.
-In West Africa and the Congo Basin, Bushmeat is Now the Leading Threat to Great Apes and Monkeys
-he meat is either eaten by the hunter or sold to earn much-needed income. Ultimately, it is one of the few resources people in impoverished countries can use to meet basic protein requirements.


Lack of overexploitation management: Fishing and hunting down the food chain?

As the more profitable, large-bodied, animals are depleted, we move to the next best thing…
whales to minkes


Lack of overexploitation management: Price increases?

As a resource gets depleted, sometimes market prices
skyrocket (double whammy)
ex: Chinese bahaba: swim bladder used in traditional medicine. As populations collapsed (less than 1% left) market value increase.
-Swim bladder worth 7 times its weight in gold!


Native vs non-native species

native= Species that evolved in a region (= indigenous)
E.g. Moose
non-native= Species outside the region where it evolved
(= non-indigenous). Can be a natural range expansion or
E.g. Turkey vulture


Introduced species

Species released (by human activity) outside
its native range (= alien and exotic)
E.g. Burmese Python


Naturalized species

Reproducing non-native species
E.g. Ring-necked pheasant


Invasive species

Spreading introduced species
E.g. Purple loosestrife
-Rate of species introductions increased with greater human mobility


Vectors of species introductions: unintentional

1. planes-Brown tree snake

2. Most ancient and most significant vector: Ships
->Rats, mice, cats and insects (and associated diseases)
thrived in the hold
-Hulls covered in invertebrates
-Rocks were taken in to weigh ship down then dumped after filling the hold with supplies from the new world.

3. Steel ships (mid-late 1800s) used ballast water for stability.
-Planktonic invertebrates (including larvae), algae, fish are taken and dumped elsewhere.
-Modern ships are faster (higher survival of hitchhikers on a shorter trip)

4. Recreational fishing gear involved in the spread of
freshwater invaders (via bait fish industry) *v common


Vectors of species introductions: intentional

1. Aesthetics
ex. Starlings, purple blue-strife flowers
2. Recreation
ex. pheasants Released in unfenced areas for hunting (went wild), Multiple introductions worldwide by anglers/fishermen
3. Food- Everywhere humans go, they bring their food with them. Not invasive per se, but clearly a threat
-Nile perch introduced to Lake Victoria, to develop
local fishery. Resulted in extinctions or ecological extinctions of 100s of native endemic cichlids.
-salmon cages/farms-they can escape and bring diseases
4. Companionship
ex. Domestic (but mostly feral) cats kill 50-500 million wild birds annually in Canada
5. Biological control of invaders
ex. Gipsy moth introduced to North America by scientist trying to breed infection resistant silk caterpillar—
unfortunately escaped and destroyed forests. also Compsilura concinnata, a parasitoid, was introduced.
No effect on gypsies, but decimated dozens of native


Effects on natural populations and communities
Direct effects: Predation

ex. Brown tree snake Introduced after World War
II. Populations stayed low until the 60s. Spread to the
entire island.
->Resulted in 15 extirpations of forest birds. Including 3
endemic species and 2 distinct sub-species.


Effects on natural populations and communities
Direct effects: Competition

Large inland sea supporting important anchovy fisheries
-Little water exchange with Mediterranean In early 80s,
-Mnemiopsis was introduced from ballast waters
-Proliferated in absence of predators. In 1989… 1 kg / m3
->Zooplankton community declined dramatically and Planktotrophic anchovy’s fisheries collapsed
In 1997, ANOTHER ctenophore introduction through ballast waters Kideys (2002) Science 297: 1482-1484
Turned out to be a specialist on Mnemiopsis
Mnemiopsis was apparently extirpated
-Beroe, the specialist, disappeared on its own


Effects on natural populations and communities
Indirect effects: Food web modifications

ex. Flathead Lake, Montana
-> Has a complex food web full of introduced species
-> A deliberate introduction, to help an introduced species, shifted everything through a weird trophic cascade
“Original” food web= Dominant fish:Kokanee. Lake trout
were rare and deep. In 80s: mysid shrimp was introduced to feed kokanees.
Not eaten by kokanees but instead competes with kokanes for zooplankton and feeds lake trout.
-> Kokanees vanished. Bears and eagles declined. Trout
became dominant fish. Phytoplankton (which zooplankton ate) bloomed.


Effects on natural populations and communities
Trait-mediated indirect effects

Carcinus maenas, introduced in the 1900s. Quickly invaded Atlantic coasts
Long term: presence of crabs could induce collapses of snails even without preying upon them because the adjusted shell thickness increased with the crab odour and it resulted in a smaller body size and clutch size


Effects on natural populations and communities
Genetic swamping: extinctions through hybridisation

ex. Apache trout= IUCN: critically endangered
-Few small populations in Western US
-Lives with the introduced rainbow trout
-65% of Apaches are hybrids
-One population is now all rainbow hybrid


Commonalities: Propagule pressure

A species is more likely to become established when there is a constant arrival of newcomers:
• Widespread vs. rare
• Invaders, at first, face the problems of small
populations (Allee effects, stochasticity)
->Similarly, a community is more likely to be invaded when newcomers are constantly arriving
• International port vs. a tiny remote island (island
biogeography concept appears again)


Commonalities: A good invader

It has proven very difficult to come up with a list of
characteristics that make species good invaders
->Taxon-specific analyses are useful. List a bunch of species and their characteristics and find what correlates with invasion success
E.g. Pine trees in South Africa: short juvenile period, short
interval between seed crops, small seeds
E.g. Fish in Great Lakes: Growth rate, Temperature and
salinity tolerance and egg size


Commonalities: Escape from biotic constraints

Immigrant in a new environment is no longer plagued by its predators, parasites, diseases and so on… Increased vigour, growth and fecundity. Eventually build new enemies.
ex. Brushtail possum: Native to Australia, but invaded NZ
- In NZ, fewer competitors, no microparasites, 16
macroparasites (76 in Aus)
= 10 x density in NZ


Commonalities: Characteristics of invaded communities

-Extreme environments: e.g. arctic, less invadable, great
physiological filter
-The biotic resistance hypothesis: Species-rich systems are more stable and have less “niche space” for invaders
• Mixed results… many cases where there is a positive
correlation between native and invasive species numbers
• But islands seem especially vulnerable


Characteristics of invaded communities: The disturbance hypothesis

Disturbed communities would be more vulnerable because of temporary resource availability. Native species, by definition, are not adapted to disturbance (since they are disturbed).
Complementary to biotic resistance hypothesis.


Commonalities: invasions are very difficult to establish:

• Invasions are analyzed a posteriori
• Experimental manipulations are difficult and
• Early stages of invasions are often unnoticed


Control of invasions: Laws are being passed to limit vector of introductions

ex. Ballast waters have to be dumped 200 nautical miles
from coast before entering Canadian waters… except in
rough seas!


Control of invasions: Precautionary approach

Precautionary approach: every introduced species is guilty until proven innocent
-Early action is often the best. Cost of dealing with early
invasions is far less than advanced ones.
-Good news… removal of an invader -> recovery of natural community. As long as all the original species are still present
ex. Sand dune on the coast of California. Early invasion by European beach grass. Physical removal followed by recovery.


Control of invasions: Physical removal

another example: Abalones in the Californian intertidal
-Terebrasabella (polychaete) introduced from South Africa
-Ectoparasite on abalones= makes them unmarketable
-Huge volunteering effort (1.6 million abalones handpicked)


Control of invasions: Chemical removal

Rotenone kills everything and was successfully used to eradicate introduced fish in lakes
->Of course it’s damaging to natural populations, but they usually recover
->Used in early stages of invasions, in high-risk situations
ex. Miramichi Lake
=one of the most productive nurseries for the troubled Atlantic salmon in the world
->Smallmouth bass are voracious eaters, vicious protectors of their territory and they compete with other species for food and space, so for the past three years striving to eliminate every last smallmouth bass from the lake. Some are calling for the entire lake to be poisoned with a chemical that does not harm the lake’s habitat but which destroys all fish, after which stocks of the lake’s native fish which were saved from the lake before the chemicals were applied to it would be returned to their natural habitat to repopulate the body of water. This method has been used often in other areas but it is expensive and requires much work to get the proper permits from Environment Canada.


Control of invasions: Biological control

Few successful examples: Invasive cactus in Australia
Moth was introduced and they reduced cactus densities… (controlled to this date)
Not so successful elsewhere… therefore there are problems with biological control


Control of invasions When out of control: prevent spread

ex. Asian carp introduced to the Mississippi river and river is now very disturbed (fish jumping everywhere even breaking people's bones)
ex. Channa argus/snakehead (harmful to humans and a concern to aquatic native species) *can walk on land too which makes them even more invasive


Chainsaws of the outback?

"killer rabbits" in Australia
-harmful to endangered species (mice, ballerina orchid)


Control of invasions: Opponents to removal

-One major challenge= animal right activists often oppose
to eradication programs. E. g. American grey squirrels in
-Similar examples with rats on an island (opposed to the
method used), feral horses in NZ and US
-Fisherman organizations opposed to eradication projects of species they deliberately introduced (because they wanna fish them)
-Found at highest densities along trails and roads, in cleared or burnt areas… disturbance hypothesis (Disturbed environments allow invader to come in)


Case study: the common buckthorn
Vector of introduction/Direct effects on native species

Small woody plant (10 m max)
-Native to Europe
-Introduced to NA as ornamental plant during 19th century
-Quickly spread through NA and Invasive in many areas
-Huge problem for both biodiversity and forest
-Forms dense thickets in forested areas and clearings
that greatly reduces light penetration-> Outcompetes many native plant species
ex. Birds nest in available habitat:
-No thorns for protection
-Branch configuration helps motility of predators
-Nests are lower
-Overall increase in nest predation


Reasons for the common buckthorn's success

-Phenology (timing of events): leaves occur earlier than
native species and stay for longer
-Does well in shade and light, wet and dry areas (large niche)
-Dispersed by birds
-High reproduction rates
-Allelochemicals (prevent other plants from growing in their area by putting chemicals in soil)
-Escape from natural enemies:
->Produces a chemical that deters herbivores (insects and
small mammals)
->In natural range... has specialist enemies (co-evolution)
->Unconfirmed, but it is suspected that no natural diseases occur in NA
->As a result, does better in the new range. Up to 34 600
individuals per hectare. Only occurs sparsely in Europe


Case study: the common buckthorn: Control

-Biological control: introduction of specialists from
Europe… too risky!
-Mechanical removal: works well at small scales-> impossible to get them all (seed bank)
-Large scale chemical control: expensive and unethical


round goby

aquatic invasive species in great lakes



-Florida is second only to California in the number of nonindigenous fish species reported* from its waters. Many of the introductions are aquarium species grown in
the tropical fish farms or released by owners.
-Florida has a much higher percentage of foreign species introduced* mainly because of the tropical fish farm industry that raises foreign fish species and because of the tropical climate that allows these species to survive.
-Florida has a much higher percentage of introductions* attributable to either aquarium releases or tropical fish farm escapes


Threats to biodiversity: Diseases

Human activity greatly increased spread of diseases to wild populations. Easy parallel to be made with species
Occur naturally in wild populations. Several possible
-Extinction of host
-Extinction of disease
-Low levels of infection (or infectivity)


Whether a disease is caused by a virus, bacteria,
fungus or a metazoan, there are a few

-Death-causing pathogens are a strong selective
->Previous contact usually increases immunity
-Infection rates depend on frequency of contact
between infected and non-infected hosts


Vectors of disease introduction

Similar to species introductions… in fact, most
human-caused infections are mediated through
introduced species or are direct species introductions:
- Sometimes through direct contact with humans
- More often through contact of wildlife with
domesticated species


Vectors of disease introduction:

White-nose syndrome in bats:
Fungal infection in bats, recent outbreak in North America
->Benign (causes a rash) but makes bats wake up in the
dawn of winter (90% mortality!!!) *lose body fat
->Was probably brought from Europe by bat biologists
(spores on their equipment). Reason for rapid spread= mostly from splurunking (cavers)
-The disease’s name derives from a visually observable white growth of a newly discovered fungus Geomyces destructans . It grows on the skin (including the muzzle) of hibernating bats
– White nose syndrome first discovered in NY state in 2006. – It is now confirmed in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. – What is being done?
• Reduce visits to caves—restrict the sport
• Biosecurity protocols for researchers.


Vectors of disease introduction:
Domestic species

Although it is uncommon for a disease to cause host extinction, severe population depletions make populations smaller… thus more vulnerable to stochasticity
Ex. Canine distemper, passed by dogs, can cause severe reductions of lion populations
Ex. Salmon aquaculture occurs at extremely high density.
->Ideal conditions for spread of diseases.
->Can be transmitted to wild(or native) populations… “spill-over” (sea lice)


Effects of diseases

Most are obvious: reduced survival, growth and fecundity of individuals, but some are more insidious
ex. Corophium volutator (mud shrimp):
->Discovered microsporidian parasite
->Seems to be turning males into females
-Biased sex ratio can crash populations


Novelty of disease

-Pre-Columbian civilizations suffered up to 90% mortality
from European diseases that they were previously not exposed to
-Rinderpest virus, a common and deadly infection of
• Introduced in Africa (late 1800s) and killed 75% of
antelopes, wild buffalos and giraffes.


Spread of disease

Contacts between uninfected and infected hosts
-Increases at high density (COV-19 in NYC vs PEI)
-Large scale spread affected by migrants (Planes, etc)
-Increases with human contact


Control of disease

When vector is known, direct actions can be taken to
reduce spread
ex. White nose syndrome in bats
->Culling: a controlled eradication of infected individuals /
colonies (Has worked with domestic animals but little evidence for effectiveness in wild populations)

ex. Large scale immunization programs, rabies in Qc (After 5 years, most raccoons are now vaccinated and
there is no sign of outbreaks)


Conservationist dilemma:

If a disease is caught early: to cull or not?

-If yes, local population is eradicated.
• Result-> Control may or may not work. Disease may
or may not have spread and done damage.

-If no, run the chance of letting a major problem spread…
• Result-> reduced population size:
• inbreeding depression, Allee effects and environmental stochasticity
Need-> Gather information to make a good decision


habitat loss vs habitat degradation

Habitat loss: impacts so severe that all, or nearly all,
species are adversely affected, or to cases where the
time span needed for recovery is extremely long.

Habitat degradation: impacts that affect many but not
all species, and that may be temporary (although many
impacts are persistent at low-medium levels of
intensity). Groom et al. (2006)
->Any human impact making life harder for organisms


Habitat degradation
Small scale habitat destruction:

selective rather than clear cutting, coral broken by a flipper rather than dynamite,
Most obvious form is pollution (but can be on a large scale too)


Environmental contaminants

ex. Toxic baby bottles? BPA banned in Canada and
ex. Coal-fired power stations 'poison fish with mercury'
ex. DDT decimates many bird species, also damaging
to human health.


Habitat degradation
Light pollution

Not just chemical--Ecological light pollution!
->Many animals are influenced by light in their activity
schedule, orientation.
->Artificial lighting may disrupt their natural behaviour
->Frogs can be blinded for hours, moths spend their time
bumping into a light bulb, birds get ‘trapped’ in a lit area,
amphibians stop calling for mates
ex. Mayflies around scurry light
ex. Loggerhead turtles (IUCN status: endangered) *Hatchlings use shadows of dunes to orient towards
ocean. When artificial lights present, they get


Habitat degradation
Air pollution

Wide variety of pollutants from different sources with
many adverse effects on humans and wild organisms
ex. effect of ozone (O3) on forest trees:
-Ozone levels are 36% higher than pre-industrial times
Has many negative impacts on plants’ growth, productivity, photosynthesis, chlorophyll concentration,
respiration, sensitivity to diseases…
-toxic to grapes, damage integument of plants
-At ozone concentration lower than those found in
big cities, photosynthetic activity was reduced in all species

Good Ozone—Stratosphere VS Bad Ozone--Troposphere
-most ozone in the northern hemisphere is in the summer months and ozone pollution can travel from urban to rural areas


Habitat degradation- Air pollution: acid rain

Experimental lake area in western Ontario:

-showed impact of acid rain on lakes and how much pollution is allowed to occur
-> Lake was artificially acidified over 8 years (from 6.8 to 5 on pH scale)
->densities of invertebrates/fish changed dramatically
-> Condition factor for fish in acidic lake = weight/length^3
-acid rain/ozone emission trends shown great decrease because of this lake experiment


Habitat degradation
Water pollution: Contaminants

May affect survival, growth and reproduction
ex. Untreated waste water contains hormones from urine of women using contraceptive pills (males become feminized and can even grow ovaries- would have no reproduction if they all became female)
->Experimental lake area, added 17-ethynylestradiol.
Monitored response of fathead minnows (added estrogen components/estradiol)
Males make VTG via their liver but don't have eggs


Habitat degradation
Water pollution: Biomagnification

951 fish samples from 27 species from the Amazon basin
Mono-methyl-mercury (MMHg) concentrates (Safe limit is 500 ppb) therefore we are in real trouble with piscivorous fish where they have tissue Hg concentrations up to 1400ppb
->birds are also affected as they eat the fish


Case study - DDT

• Produced in a lab in 1873, noted as highly poisonous to insects in 1939.
• Great success because:
– Broad-spectrum effectiveness against insects
– Persistent, water-insoluble, inexpensive
->even put it into wallpaper

But… some problems emerged
• Rachel Carson (1962)
– wrote Silent Spring
– Noted that DDT was toxic to fish and crustaceans
– Noted that birds eating insects and worms in treated areas were dying

DDT biomagnifies up the food chain, affecting top
– Bird eggs are too thin and will not hatch
– Nearly wiped out Peregrine Falcons

• Finally recognizing the problem, DDT was banned in North America in 1973
• The Stockholm Convention on POPs was adopted in 2001 and came into force in 2004
– banned or dramatically limited access to 12 POPs (persistent organic pollutants), including DDT


What does DDT do to human health?
Tentative conclusions:

• Acute effects – nausea, headaches, diarrhea, and irritation of the mucous membranes, tremors and convulsions, and nervous system abnormalities
– at relatively high doses
• Chronic effects – early pregnancy loss, male and female fertility problems, neurodevelopmental deficits, possibly leukemia, pancreatic cancer, and breast cancer
– results are equivocal in some cases
– Urogenital malformations in baby boys
– direct links to DDT exposure
of the mother
• Half life in humans is about 4 years, so effects can linger or be delayed.
-seen in breast milk but less now (not dropping in african countries because of Malaria as DDT is used to kill misquotes carrying malaria) *Malaria is more severe



DDT is banned for agricultural use, but residential
use is on the rise in some countries.
– South Africa
– 60-80g is sprayed in treated houses each
– 2007 study found a link between high exposure and male infertility.
– Some suggest that exposure from living in DDT-sprayed
houses may increase infant mortality but up to 9%.
• Bottom line – fierce debate
– Can be tough to separate fact from pseudoscience….
– Where does one put the burden of proof? (if dealing with the precautionary principle it should be on the ones promoting the use)
->Ideally malaria will be controlled without DDT, but
until then?


Habitat degradation
Water pollution: Sedimentation

Deforestation, agriculture and mining can dramatically increase sediment load in lotic (running water systems) ecosystems
->In this case, a country club coupled with heavy rainfall
-sediments can choke fish to death


Habitat degradation
Water pollution: Sedimentation Effects on primary producers

- Reduced water clarity, reduces photosynthetic activity (blocks light penetration)
- Increased abrasion
- Reduction of solid substrate for algal attachment


Habitat degradation
Water pollution: Sedimentation
->Effects on benthic invertebrates

- Reduction in suitable substrate
- Clogs respiratory structures
- Clogs filter-feeding apparatus -starve to death


Habitat degradation
Water pollution: Sedimentation
Effects on fish

- Respiration hindered (gill rakes and gill filaments
covered in sediment)
- Deterioration of spawning areas (eggs will choke and die)
- Reduce ability of visual feeders (cant see the food they need to eat)
- Reduction in food availability

*Very similar effects are observed in coral reef communities (massive amounts of coral are dying)


Habitat degradation
Water pollution: Nutrient input impacts

-Excessive nutrient input (nitrate and phosphates) from fertilizers, sewage and detergents (result in algal blooms)
-Humans are responsible for releasing as much nitrogen in the environment as all the natural sources

In the worst cases: results in cyanobacterial (blue-green algae) blooms. Are toxic… kill fish, dogs and humans.

In the best cases, rapid increase in zooplankton populations and can knock down phytoplankton)

->Followed by rapid decomposition of plant and animal
material. Leads to hypoxic conditions.
->Combination of toxins and anoxia can have dramatic
consequences (many fish can die)
->can get Sudden bloom of dinoflagellate algae. Many of which are toxic Results in contamination of shellfish (people can get shellfish poisoning when they consume them)
->nutrient input dead zones


Habitat degradation

Any human impact that does not completely destroy a
habitat but has negative consequences on organisms -habitat degradation

Light pollution: results from artificial lighting. Poorly
understood… but influences natural behaviours

Air pollution: mostly the result of burning different
organic materials. Results in killing or reduced
performance of organisms (e.g. Ozone). Transfers to
aquatic systems through acid rains.

Water pollution: many contaminants (pesticides,
medication, heavy metals) that disrupt vital rates
(survival, growth, fecundity) and tend to accumulate in
higher trophic levels

Sediments reduce primary productivity and reduce
performance of consumers

Excess nutrients result in uncontrolled primary
productivity. Eventually decays and produce hypoxic


The Great Debate: Is there a limit to economic growth?

Why wouldn’t there be a limit?
1) Substitutability of resources
2) Increasing productive efficiency due to
technological invention and innovation

*Technology allows us to accelerate consumption of natural capital (ex. we can get logs from places where we previously couldn’t)

Why would there be a limit?
1) Carrying capacity
2) Thermodynamics-The amount of energy for economic production is limited
3) Trophic levels

Undeniable link between economic growth and loss of


Environmental economics?

An area of economics that studies the economic impact of environmental policies. Environment economists perform studies to determine the theoretical or empirical effects of environmental policies on the economy. This field of economics helps users design appropriate environmental policies and analyze the effects and merits of existing or proposed policies.


Economic growth?

• an increase in the production and consumption of goods and services
• a function of population and per-capita consumption
• Typically expressed in terms of GDP
• agricultural-extractive, manufacturing industrial, and services
-As previously identified, increased growth or GDP is closely linked with degradation of natural systems


GDP (Gross domestic product)?

• A measure of the value of goods and services produced in a year
• Quantifies the size of the economy
GDP = C + G + I + NX, or (consumption + government spending + investment + net exports)

Excludes the following in calculation:
1) environmental costs
2) loss of natural resources
Result: countries that appear economically prosperous may actually be running at a loss


Carrying capacity

The population of a given species that can
be supported indefinitely in a defined habitat
without permanently damaging the
ecosystem upon which it is dependent

• Consumers (the population)
• Production and storage facilities
• Byproducts
-> Assimilative capacity of the environment
for pollutants


Economic Carrying Capacity curve

As K-selected growth gets to top it levels out and hits K (it is sustainable).
R-selected growth= you will pass K and whole system/species will crash.
->The American economy looks like it represents R-selected growth and will succeed its carrying capacity. We can turn this curve into a K-selected growth though.
*For the sake of wildlife conservation, it’s not enough to
hope we’re a K-selected economy


Wildlife Conservation and
Steady State Economy

To conserve wildlife, maintain steady state
economy sufficiently below K.



• Fixed amount of energy, matter (E =mc2)
– Ceiling on the amount of material/energy available for economic production
• law of Entropy (degree of disorder within a system)
– No production process may achieve 100%
efficiency (because you never have 100% efficiency, you have a negative energy system)


Steady State Economy

• Stable production and consumption of goods and
• Indicated by stable GDP
• Stabilized:
– population
– per capita consumption
– “throughput” (the amount of energy and materials
used in the production process)
• Allows for sustainable development or
“development without growth”


Economic Development

• Qualitative process (vs. the quantitative process of economic growth)
• Evolution of goals, politics, institutions
• Changes in the production process
• Economic growth and development may or may not occur together


Conflicts with Economic Development

• We know that there will be conflicts when decisions involving multiple stakeholders and their differing agendas are being made
• How do we compare the importance of different goals or objections? doing a cost benefit analysis of the particular activity


Cost-Benefit Analysis

• Economists have suggested giving
monetary value to all costs and benefits
of any project
• Typically, environmental costs are not
factored into decisions or substantially
• How much is biodiversity and its various
functions worth and how much will it cost
to protect it?


Environmental externalities

• Environmental damage that results from the
consumption and/or production of a good or service
that is not directly reflected in the price charged for the
good or service or compensated for in some other, nonprice way
• Environmental externalities usually exist because
relatively open access to the environment (air, water,
land) means that it can be treated as a free receptacle
for the wastes of production and consumption
• e.g., Reduction in air quality due to vehicle


Market Failure

• When the price of goods and services do not reflect the true costs of producing and consuming those goods and services

• In the context of environmental externalities, a market failure occurs when the price of goods and services does not reflect full societal costs (conventional financial costs + environmental externalities)

• Result: market prices are too low and more of the good or service is likely to be consumed than would be the case if all costs were taken into account

• Many argue, therefore, that environmental externalities need to be included in the cost of producing and consuming goods and services in order for society to make better decisions about how much of the good or service to produce and/or consume.


• Incorporating realistic monetary values for
environmental externalities into Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) is the goal

• Goal: Force decision makers (both in government and
business) to consider the environment in their decision
making and project analyses
• Otherwise, they may be excluded from decision
making or their value trivialized


The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill - 1989

• 42 million litres of oil spilled
• 2000 km of coastline spoiled including three national parks, three national wildlife refuges, and one national forest
• Billions of dollars in clean-up costs
• Not large compared to others, but one of the world's most ecologically devastating disasters
The victims:
• 250,000 seabirds
• 2,800 sea otters
• 300 seals
• 250 bald eagles
• up to 22 killer whales
• Billions of herring and salmon eggs

Exxon paid:
• $2.2 billion to clean up Prince William Sound
• $300 million in voluntarily compensation
• $1 billion to state and federal governments
*Recorded as a net economic gain because cleanup costs increased America's GDP and provided employment
(because they didn't factor in the cost of
Environmental Externalities)

Continuing environmental, social and economic hardship:
- Native inhabitants
- Up to 40% drops in fisheries were observed in the following years
- Tourism
- Oil still seeps out of the beaches

• In 1994, a federal judge in Alaska ordered
Exxon to pay $5 billion in damages to local
• July 2008: Exxon ordered to pay only $507 million in damages; equivalent to actual harm caused by spill according to judges (Exxon earnings in 2007: $40.6 billion)


BP Gulf of Mexico

crude oil pouring into the water, 11 men died on oil rig


What kind of values does
biodiversity have?

Use values
- the values that come as a result of contact
with or use of natural resources
1) Direct-use values
– associated with the direct use of products
– Can be consumptive (extraction/harvesting) or
non-consumptive (appreciation of landscape)
2) Indirect use values
– A service provided by the environment via normal
functioning (ecosystem services)
3) Option value
– Value placed on environmental assets to secure
for future use

Non-use values
- correspond to those benefits that do not
imply contact between the consumers and
the good
1) Existence values
- values that derive simply from the knowledge
that a good exists
- E.g., the existence of some species is important to us. Does this mean those species have greater monetary value? dont know
2) Bequest values
- Values that we receive from knowing that we
will hand something on to future generations (will save biodiversity for my kids)


Total economic value

• The sum of all use and non-use values
• Many decisions have been made that do not
recognize all of the different values (e.g., not
all marine fisherman recognize the value of
the benthic habitats that they trawl)
• To make future rational decisions that will
benefit conservation all values must be
recognized and quantified in monetary terms


Environmental economics

- Utility = a measure of “well-being”
- Any development will influence utility of different
people in different ways
- factor in Cost-benefit analyses
- Putting a $-value on biodiversity and the different
ways ecosystems serve us

People give little thought to how dependent they are on the proper functioning of ecosystems and the crucial services for humanity that flow from them
– “conditions and processes through which natural
ecosystems, and the species that make them up,
sustain and fulfill human life” (Daily 1997)
– “the set of ecosystem functions that are useful to
humans” (Kremen 2005)
– This ranges from the microscopic to the global


Direct use value

-Products directly harvested by people either for their
own consumption (consumptive use value; does not
appear on GDP calculations) or to be sold in markets
(productive use value)
-Include: timber, fuelwood, meat, fish, fruits, vegetables,
medicine, etc…
-Fairly easy to quantify monetary value (number or
quantity used x market value)


Direct use value:
Consumptive use value

Direct consumption (or trade) of harvestable goods and
foods is very important at the local level especially in
developing countries

Example: fuelwood is the main source of heat for 2.6
billion people throughout the world
->In 2000, a total of 1 791 000 000 cubic meters of wood
were burned for heat and cooking in Africa alone

1.05 million m3= $-value calculated by estimating what local populations would have to pay to obtain from somewhere else, or in other forms


Direct use value
Non-consumptive use value

- $-value estimated fairly easily: sum of what people
pay on their trips. E.g. ecotourism $120 billion a year


Indirect use value

Can be assigned to aspects of biodiversity – such as
environmental processes and ecosystem services – that
provide both present and future economic benefits
without being harvested or destroyed during use
Total of $33 000 000 000 000 per year

ex. Carbon sequestration (CO2 -> Biomass)
Important carbon sinks: peat bogs and open oceans
ex. Wetlands and forests act as buffers of water levels (prevent flooding)
ex. Protection of soils-Vegetation increases soil structural integrity
ex. Water treatment- Pollutants like pesticides and heavy metals broken down and stored. Excess nutrients (sewage and fertilizers) are stored and recycled. Again mostly wetlands and coastal areas. Annual equivalent of 15 trillion dollars in water treatment plants
ex. Species relationships- A cave in San Antonio, Texas,
saves cotton farmers $ 740 000 a year in pesticides
ex. Pollination by wild insects- • About 150 crop plants in NA require insect pollination by wild insects
• Value can be assigned by calculating what it would cost
to manually pollinate these crops in the absence of natural pollinators (estimates: $20-40 billion/yr)


Option value

• A species’ potential to provide an economic benefit to
human societies at some point in the future
• Stereotypical annoying example: what if in 50 years from now we discover “insert species name” can cure cancer?
=Source of genetic improvement for domesticated
ex. Zea perennis:
->A recently discovered perennial corn. Could be used to develop new crops. No need to replant seeds every year.
Potentially worth billions.

->Option value is very difficult to calculate. Typically involves extrapolating from recent trends, in terms of $-value of species just starting to be used. Average
$-value of species?


Existence value

-These types of surveys, in non-biological fields, involve
questions like: How much money would you need to
accept this change?

-People usually refuse to accept money for the extinction of a species… compensation does not work here.

-Questions are thus rephrased: How much would you be
willing to pay for species X not to go extinct?
->On average, Americans said $114.67 X 300M = $34.4 billion but 2010 donations to Nature Conservancy= 0.4 billion worldwide
->Many factors influence people’s answers: education really increases how much people are willing to pay…
->subjectivity of surveys
*looking at Public opinion only… not always a good indicator


Objections to Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA)

1) Uncertainty in estimates of physical costs and benefits
- e.g., Many projects cost more than predicted; how would this
have affected decisions?
2) Uncertainty in our valuation of environmental C&B
3) Issues associated with the distribution of C&B among the population
4) Use of discount rates
5) Irreversible actions (e.g., extinction) do not receive greater penalties in CBA
6) Varying discount rates and project boundaries slightly can change outcomes of CBA (i.e., easily manipulated)
7) Project-oriented so no sustainability-related criteria for a series of projects for example


Alternatives to CBA

1) Environmental impact assessment (EIA)
- The process of identifying the potential impacts of a
project or policy before it goes ahead
- Are the environmental impacts of a project
- Fieldwork, modeling and expert opinion
- Can be used in combination with or independent of
- Currently a legal requisite of projects in many countries
(including Canada)
- Poor EIA standards and enforcement
- More weight placed on financial aspects of decision

2) Risk assessment and management
- R = P X M (where R = risk, P =
probability of the risk and M =
magnitude of the consequence)
- What constitutes an acceptable level
of risk?
- Human decisions also factor in
perceived benefits; risk to benefit ratio
used in decision making


Adding non-substitutability to CBA

• Using and preserving natural capital are both essential to human well-being
– How much is needed?
– What aspects are critical?
– Which have human-derived substitutes?
• Critical natural capital (CNC): natural assets that are
irreplaceable and cannot be substituted by anything else
– Difficult to define which parts of the environment are
– Ozone is considered CNC but many countries still refuse to reduce atmospheric pollutants due to impacts on traditional industries
• Perhaps an option is to allocate a certain land base as CNC that cannot be touched
– Problems with this idea? yes


Recent advances in Canada

• March 2008: British Columbia introduced NA’s first tax on the purchase or use of almost all fossil fuels with the goal of reducing GHG emissions
– Increased prices should result in reduced consumption
• October 2007: Quebec implemented a narrower tax aimed at certain corporations use of specific fossil fuels
• Many European countries have seen substantial reductions under similar taxes


Conservation and debt in less developed countries

• Throughout the 1960s and 70s governments and
banks of developed countries lent money at low
or variable interest rates to less-developed countries
• LDCs borrowed heavily because their commodities were doing well economically
• 1981 start of the recession saw increased interest
rates and commodity prices plummet thus initiating the “debt crisis”
• LDCs forced to try to increase exports (largely
agriculture-, forestry- and mining-based) further
increasing pressure on the natural environment


Environment service values

The most important benefit of biodiversity is
maintenance of environment services which includes:

(i) Carbon dioxide fixation through photosynthesis.
(ii) Maintaining of essential nutrients by carbon (C), oxygen (O), Nitrogen (N), Sulphur (S), Phosphorus (P) cycles.
(iii) Maintaining water cycle and recharging of ground water.
(iv) Soil formation and protection from erosion.
(v) Regulating climate by recycling moisture into the atmosphere.
(vi) Detoxification and decomposition of waste.


Debt-for-nature swaps (DFNS)

• 1984: Thomas Lovejoy (WWF) proposed that
“debtor nations willing to protect natural resources
could be made eligible for discounts or credits against their debts”
• 1987: Conservation International, the Government
of Belize and Citicorp bank concluded the first such swap
• DFNS: an agreement whereby debt in hard currency is forgiven by the owner of the debt in exchange for commitments to support conservation on the part of the borrower
– Financial commitments to fund conservation activities
– Actions that the debtor government promises to take


Benefits of DFNS

1) Debtor:
- reduces foreign liability
- Funds environmental projects that otherwise would not have happened
2) Creditor (typically rich country):
- Makes the best of a bad situation by cancelling debt
that would otherwise not have been repaid in exchange for environmental action desired by its citizens
3) Local conservation groups
- receive funds from creditor to undertake environmental action
US $1 Billion of funds have been allocated to conservation through this mechanism


ex. Project assessment

Total value of an area = direct use value + indirect
use value + option value + existence value

Is an ecosystem worth exploiting ?

Yes, if productive use value > consumptive +
non-consumptive + indirect use value + option
value + existence value

ex. Bacuit Bay, Palawan, Phillippines guardian.co.uk
->looked at CBA for 3 development options:
1. intensive logging until depleted
2. logging banned; protected area established
3. sustainable logging (get the most from tourism and fisheries)
*allows you to look at true cost of doing something


Ecological Footprint

• Proposed by William Rees in 1992
• EF analysis attempts to measure human demand on nature

• Estimates the amount of biologically productive land and sea area needed to regenerate the resources the human population consumes and to absorb and render harmless the corresponding waste, given prevailing technology

• The largest components in EF calculation are the land used for crops and trees, areas of ocean used for fishing, and land required to support the plant life needed to absorb and sequester CO2 emissions from fossil fuels

• Accounts for the fact that in a global economy people
consume resources and ecological services from all over the world
– e.g., Chiquita plantation in Costa Rica will not count towards Costa Rica’s EF, but rather towards the EF of those countries where the bananas are consumed. For this reason, a country’s EF can be significantly larger than its actual biocapacity


Ecological Footprint: How are we doing?

• The human population is currently overshooting the Earth’s carrying capacity by 20-30%
• We maintain this overshoot by liquidating the planet’s ecological resources
• By calculating the ecological footprint, the extent
to which a person or country is utilizing more or
less than their sustainable share of the world’s
resources can be shown


Ecological Footprint: How does this tie in to ecological

• GDP is a function of population size and per capita consumption; the ecological footprint allows us to assess differences in per capita consumption
• Ecological footprint increases exponentially with development indices (and GDP)


Principles of reserve design (another way to protect the world around us)

Main goals of nature reserves:

1) Separate elements of biodiversity from processes that
threaten their existence.

2) Represent the full variety of biodiversity, ideally at all
levels of organization.
*goal to have the full level of biodiversity at all levels of organization

3) Promote the long-term survival of the species and other elements of biodiversity by maintaining natural processes and viable populations.


Goals of nature reserves: with limited funding

With limited funding, what should be protected? Get the
most bang for the buck!
1) Distinct ecosystems and species: unusual geological
attributes, endemic species (to small areas) and
genetically distinct species
2) Endangered ecosystems and species
3) Ecosystems or species providing services


Different approaches to the goals of nature reserves with limited funding

1) Species approach
2) Ecosystem approach
3) Hotspot approach
4) Landscape approach


Species approach

Endangered species for which sufficient information is

1) Gather available information on biology to identify key
components (critical habitat, food sources, etc…)

2) Locate areas with adequate conditions

3) Conduct surveys of population status

*get enough info about species to figure out how we can protect spaces of these species


Species approach ex.

Red-cockaded woodpecker:
-Listed as endangered in US in 1970, 1% of original population remaining
-Feeds on insects
-“Colonial” species
-Builds clusters of nesting cavities
-Depends completely on mature pine forests
->In Virginia (northern limit of species range), Nature
Conservancy evaluated several pine forests
->Located only one viable population so bought the land to protect the species
*Same was done in other states, several pine forests are
protected (Other species also benefit from this -> Flagship species)


Ecosystem approach

Many argue that money is better spent protecting
ecosystems than individual species (e.g. captive breeding
and stocking programs)

Argument for this approach is easy when ecosystem
services are obvious

Protecting and managing a functioning ecosystem protects de facto all the species it contains

Again, priorities must be set: Largest most pristine patches = most important

-Local level “alpha” diversity (expressed by number of species/sp. richness in ecosystem)
-All representative species present
-Preserving a wide range (all) of ecosystems
-more habitat has been protected rather than converted in areas where humans are not as dense


local Ecosystem approach example

Bouctouche dune


larger Ecosystem approach example

Greenland north east national park… ~ 1 million km2 of snow


Hotspot approach

Identifying and protecting areas with extremely high
number of species (Madagascar has high sp. diversity and should be protected)


Landscape approach

Selecting areas with a concentration of different ecosystems/ communities: high β-diversity (Gamma/Alpha= Beta diversity)


Characteristics of a good reserve: Size

Everything else being equal, a larger reserve is always more efficient than a smaller one… (because of larger populations)
->small parts have a higher extinction rate


How big is big enough?

Depends on what you're trying to conserve:
->(small herbivore vs large herbivores/carnivores)
*need to move from smaller to larger areas to protect a larger proportion of the population
->figure out how much area the individuals require:
To do this-> Minimum viable population / density estimates
ex. 1367 / 1.4 = 976.4 ha


Characteristics of a good reserve: Size continued

Everything else being equal, a large reserve is always more efficient than a smaller one… (because of ecosystem processes)
ex. better to protect the whole system (ex. river) then part of it
->The scale at which processes operate is very difficult to
estimate and causes problems determining appropriate area


Characteristics of a good reserve: Shape

Minimizing edge effects seems like a good idea… but at
the expense of:
Habitat quality? Community diversity? Ecosystem
->reserve shape closer to round = fewer edge effects)


Characteristics of a good reserve
SLOSS (Single Large Or Several Small)

One thing is for sure, you do not want to make several small reserves within a large reserve!
->Roads are awful at fragmenting a landscape… stay away (you'd only do this if species require edges but this usually is not the case)

All comes back to Island biogeography vs metapopulation
theory Island biogeography theory says that risk of extinction decreases with increasing patch size. Thus more species in large patches.
-Metapopulation theory says, persistence time of a species can be increased by colonization/extinction dynamics


how to decide to go Single Large Or Several Small approach?

depends on funding and objectives asspocaited with approach (be it species, ecosystem(s) or landscape)

It all comes down to the biology of your species:
-Are separate patches big enough to sustain viable
-Does your species move a lot or is a poor disperser?
-Will it migrate through the matrix/landscape?
-Is there any evidence for metapopulation dynamics?
->Remember the 4 essential conditions for

If A LOT of information is available, modeling can answer
these questions. These include: local (within-patch)
dynamics, current and future conditions, probability of
colonization in relation to patch size and isolation…
-My humble opinion: when in doubt… go large
-Some of your species may be good candidates for
metapopulation dynamics


Characteristics of a good reserve: Connectivity

-Not always possible to buy large contiguous patches of
-Efficient planning can make several smaller reserves act as a larger one (not necessarily through metapopulation
-Connectivity is never a bad thing… corridors
(allow easier migration/movement between patches)


Protected areas designations (IUCN)

From Ia: Strict nature reserve: Areas of extremely high
importance. Everything is strictly controlled. Areas
completely unmodified. Used as “control sites”.

To VI: Protected area with sustainable use of natural

(Note there are also Marine Protected Areas)


Network of reserves

One reserve can only do so much good… but still can be
very important
ex. Kihansi spray toad -Extinction in the wild could have been easily prevented by appropriate protection

Often single protected areas not large enough to
preserve representative samples of the biodiversity
of a region
->Need for several reserves to “work together”
->Success depends on identifying the most cost effective areas to preserve. Cutting-edge conservation techniques:
-Gap analyses
-Systematic conservation planning


Gap analysis

A systematic way to identify “GAPS” in our current
protected areas
->Necessary as past protected areas seemed to miss the
-lot of overlap between reserves
-range of threatened species not included
-large discrepancy in biome protection


Types of gaps (need to identify where the problems lie)

• Representation gaps: – either no representatives of a particular species or ecosystem in any
protected area – or not enough examples of the species or ecosystem represented to ensure
long-term protection.

• Ecological gaps: – either occurrence of species or ecosystem is either of inadequate ecological condition, – or the protected area(s) fail to address species movements or specific ecological conditions needed for long-term survival or ecosystem functioning.

• Management gaps: – protected areas exist but management regimes do not provide full security
for particular species or ecosystems given local conditions – E.g. management objectives, governance types, or management effectiveness.

ex. On the Island of Hawaii, existing reserves did not
include the range of any threatened finches
(Clearly a gap) ->Small adjustments were made


6 fundamentals of gap analysis

1. maps existing vegetation
2. maps predicted distribution of native species
3. amps land ownership for public lands and land management status for all lands
4. shows the current distribution for protected areas
5. compares distribution of any species, group of species or vegetation types of interest with the conservation network
6. provides an objective data set for local, regional, state and national interests to make decisions regarding conservation of species, ecosystems

Gap Analysis accuracy depends on precision of maps, but advances (GIS and satellite imagery) are making analyses better!

From the various layers piled up on top of each other,
quantitative assessments can be made on:
- Proportion of biomes protected
- What species are currently not protected
Objective->quantitative assessment of gap species and
ecosystems that can dictate conservation priorities


Gap analysis associated problems

Provincial, national and international targets are set in %
But is this the correct approach?
-people pat themselves on the back because they exceeded the % target goals but is it the correct approach? is it the percent thats important or is it the particular habitat
-Areas set aside for conservation are often useless desolate areas of little commercial value
ex. Plan-Nord in Quebec:
By 2015, 12% of land set for conservation and by 2035, 50%... But the extra 38% in non-claimed areas (areas that you dont really need to protect because there's no one there to begin with)

Major gaps exist in the tropics (although targets were met) simply because diversity is higher

-Many island-endemic species are missed
-Many species with really small ranges are often missed
-Gap analyses is useful to show us where the problems are.


Systematic Conservation Planning

Complex algorithms are used to minimise the costs / benefits ratio

Based on:
a) Well-defined quantitative goals and objectives
b) Existing geographical and biological information
c) Available $ resources

Spits out a solution (if any) with the cheapest scenario
meeting the goals


Systematic Conservation Planning example

Cape Floristic Region of South Africa:

Global hotspot of biodiversity. Smallest biome in the world (Fynbos)
70 % of its plants are endemic. 1406 threatened plant
species. 30 % converted… accelerating
->Quantitative targets were set with levels of priority based on gap analyses. No monetary constraints.
->Target units: divided over 3000 3900-ha squares overlaid on map
->Gathered all available information on GIS layers
->Vegetation cover, animal populations, distribution of
plant species, ecosystem processes, land use, existing
reserves, etc…
->Based on satellite imagery and expert knowledge

7-stage selection process:
Stage 0: sort of a gap analysis, existing protected areas
Stage 1: areas essential for ecosystem processes
Stage 2: irreplaceability (species and vegetation types
found in only one square)
->After these 3 stages: target was met for 53, 97 and 97.5 % of vegetation types, proteaceae and vertebrates
Stage 3: mammals (an extra 16% of the total area) Etc…

Final plan says: they can achieve all conservation goals set with 52.3% of the total area
->This translates into $912 M for land acquisition and $592M for maintenance of reserves
->But the general approach can, more realistically, include a monetary component.

BUT… even the most complex algorithms based on current distributions don’t account for climate change
*Many highland plants face severe range reduction/


Systematic Conservation Planning
In face of climate change (increased temps and a chance in weather patterns)

Current predictive models do a questionable job at very
large spatial scales… no predictions for local changes and
microclimates (protected area may become outside species range over time)

Best ideas:
1) Creation of dynamic rather than static conservation
plans with regular re-assessment
2) Concentrate on other problems (e.g. invaders) to alleviate potential multiplicative effects
3) Set up new reserves with an escape plan in mind
e.g. Protected land in areas currently outside range with efficient corridors



Once a reserve has been set, you may think the story is
over… but:
Meeting the goals (long-term persistence of biodiversity
by separating it from threats) requires a lot more work
- Regulations need to be enforced
- Ecosystem and population processes may need help
- Reserves are permeable to some threats
- Individuals do not only occur in reserves
- Parts of the reserve may need to be restored


Reserve management:

-There will always be conflicts between reserves and some people. If regulations are not enforced, we have a paper park.
-Effectiveness of tropical parks compared to Western Parks is not good. We can easily see why.
->Another key aspect of reserve success is level of support from local communities (If at all possible, public needs to be informed of benefits and engaged in the decision-making process)


Reserve management:
Maintaining ecosystem processes

-In terms of managing ecosystem processes, we have
learned from our mistakes:
-Managing for game species (e.g. removal of predators)
does not work.
-Gardening does not work
-Overprotection does not work (e.g. forest fires)
->For years, fires were seen as the enemy in Yellowstone
National Park. But they are part of natural processes (regeneration, germination, etc…)
->Controlling small fires lead to a massive increase in
standing burnable biomass


Reserve management:
Maintaining population processes

-Whole idea started with feral horses in the mid-west
-Culling was made illegal
-Public did not like the contraception idea at all!!

Population tripled in 10 years, and outcompeted commercial cattle
Loophole: still allowed to be sent to slaughter (they could harvest the house meat)


Reserve management
Maintaining population processes example 2

Elephants in South Africa: population explosions due to
water holes and farming—
Conflict with local human populations and changes in
plant community structure
-Culling (up to 400 individuals a year in some reserves)
does not make animal right activists happy
-Dart guns and helicopters are used to inject birth control
- population growth rate can be tightly controlled
- who reproduces can be controlled
- keeps everyone ‘happy’
- very expensive
- works only on small populations
- long-term effects… can’t stop reproduction completely
Future: (neither happened)
- large-scale oral contraception programs
- development of targeted substances


Reserve management: Controlling threats

The boundary of a reserve are permeable to some threats to biodiversity (e.g. introduced species)

ex. Petite Manan Island, National Wildlife Refuge off the coast of Maine
->Historical nesting ground for endangered (COSEWIC) roseate terns-> “Invaded” by herring gulls


Reserve management: Habitat enhancement

ex.Beautiful Restigouche River in NW NB:
->Salmon population has been declining
->Cold rapid waters are good habitat for juveniles
->But not found everywhere so people are trying to change the habitat to allow greater chance/circumstances for juveniles to exist


Outside reserve management

Reserves are generally too small to encompass the full
range of a species or an ecosystem process
A successful reserve will actually become a source
population with individuals “spilling over”
-Management outside reserves can play an important role in the overall conservation of biodiversity


Restoration ecology

Often if threats to biodiversity are removed, natural
ecosystems will recover on their own. But…
other cases require major human intervention
ex. alberta oil sands, or dumps


Restoration ecology: Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation: Transforming degraded habitat into
functioning ecosystem (without considering original state)
-Wasteland to wetland after gravel pit closure. Improved
ecosystem services.


Restoration ecology: Complete restoration

Complete restoration: Bring everything back to original
No action: if there is evidence that all the original species
will recolonize and structural components are still there…
doing nothing is a good option

But in most cases, serious actions need to be taken
-Most important step… stop further degradation by
restoring ecosystem processes
Could include:
- replanting to stabilize shore and reduce erosion
- remove a polluted layer of soil
- removal of man-made structures such as tidal barriers,
dams, roads, etc…


Restoration ecology example

Kissimmee watershed restoration project:

Initially, 7700 km2 basin and 216 km river
->Flood control program led to drastic changes in the 50s and 60s
"with our arrogance.."
-Several dams were built
-Massive channel dug up in the middle of formally
meandering river
- 60 km of river and 40 000 acres of flood plains lost
- Increase nutrient load to the Everglades

Lead to:
- 92% decrease in use by waterfowl
- Wading birds replaced by cattle egret
- Low/no flow resulted in lower oxygen levels
- Replacement of sport-fishing species by eutrophic specialists
- Switch in invertebrate community

Billion-dollar restoration project started:
-Channel refilled with original dirt
-Dams and water control removed
-Hydrology returned to natural state
Response of living things?
-Game fish doubled, Wading birds tripled, Ducks… 30 X increase

However natural plant community is not recovering as
-Many dominant plant species are not expanding
-Several local extinctions
-The idea of using seed bank (from original soil) did not
-Future efforts will be put in reintroductions


Ex situ conservation strategies:

involve breeding or rearing in artificial conditions followed by release in the wild through:

1) Reintroduction: establishing a new population where
once naturally existed
2) Restocking: helping natural populations by increasing
number of individuals, or by preventing bottleneck
3) Introduction: establishing a new population outside of
natural range *important implications for climate change (photoperiod temp)

ex. Seed banks throughout the world hold 10% of plant
-Kept for a long time at very cold temperature
-Switch from domesticated to wild endangered species


Population and Species Conservation Approach

-Necessary when conditions in nature make extinction
highly likely
-Rather than leaving the last individuals die, they are
->Zoos, aquaria and botanical gardens have come a long way and are now plays roles actors in ex situ conservation program


Ex situ conservation strategies:
Problems with self-sustaining captive populations

For various reasons, some species reproduce poorly in captivity
->Recent progress in human fertility and veterinary science are helping: in vitro fertilization, hormone treatments and surrogate parents


Ex situ conservation strategies:
Problems with small populations: inbreeding

ex. Przewalski’s horses, native to Asian’s steppes
-Went extinct in the wild in late 60s
-One captive population remained (after problems with the Ukraine population during WW2)
-Reintroduction worked, but…problems with inbreeding.

ex. 300 lions in zoos around the world
Virtual population: frozen sperm and artificial insemination
->Good documentation of genetics


Ex situ conservation strategies
Problems with small populations: concentration

Like in nature, aggregations make captive populations
more vulnerable to catastrophes
E.g. Miami zoo aviary (hurricane caused species grief)


Ex situ conservation strategies
Problems with captivity: adaptation and induced defences

ex. Mallorcan midwife toad--Alytes muletensis:
-Endemic to Majorca Island
-Populations mysteriously declined
-Breeding program was started and was successful
-But… in only 12 generations, they adapted to easy captive life (no predators)


Ex situ conservation strategies
Problems with captivity: learning

Many crucial behaviours are not innate… learned from
social interactions
-Food recognition, migrations, hunting, predator avoidance
(you need parents or other individuals to teach you)
ex. operation migration


Ex situ conservation strategies
Problems with diseases

- Close proximity of conspecifics (same sp)
- Close proximity of heterospecifics
- Possibility of infecting wild populations if released -> novelty
ex. Whooping crane: In 1983, important mortality due to eastern equine encephalitis virus


Ex situ conservation strategies
Problems with costs

Costs of raising animals (especially large ones) is often more than land conservation approach
-Black rhino = 50 times more

But… 200 million people visit zoos and aquaria annually
=Great opportunity for raising conservation funds
->Amazing opportunity to educate the public and ally them to the cause
(however we are not the masters of environment and we do not want to engrain this into the public)


Ex situ conservation strategies:

-should extinct animals like the wooly mammoth be cloned?


Ex situ conservation strategies

- Last resort… should not be done without absolute
- Care needs to be taken to keep many populations and
manage genetic diversity
- Organisms should be kept in conditions as natural as
- If done properly, can be extremely beneficial: saves
species from extinction and increases public awareness



A reintroduction will not succeed if problem leading to
initial extirpation is not fixed
->Sometimes released individuals need a little help at first
->Involving the public greatly increase chances of success and general awareness


Reintroduction: Source of individuals

Source of individuals: individuals from original population
not always available



-Helping natural populations by increasing number of
individuals, or by preventing bottleneck
-Same considerations as for reintroduction
-Biological information often enables to identify
demographic bottlenecks
-When possible, the effect of the bottlenecks can be reduced artificially


Restocking example

Spiny soft-shelled turtle in Québec and Ontario:
-A few small populations, endangered (COSEWIC)
-Mostly adults, juveniles almost absent
-Nesting habitat (sandy beaches) are being destroyed or
disturbed by human activity

-Nest predation by racoons is high
-Frequent flooding of nests in agricultural areas
-Hatchling predation by birds (herons)
-Clearly a problem with survival from egg to juvenile
stages -> bottleneck
Eggs collected from natural nests, and hatched in
laboratory (zoos) and then released as juveniles -> bypassing bottleneck



-Establishing a new population outside of natural range
when conditions in historical range are no longer
-Invasive predator is well established, original habitat is
completely destroyed, etc…
-Options: keep ex situ population forever or release
somewhere else

-Suitability of introduction sites
-Potential effects on ecosystems of introduction site
-Work needs to be done quickly to understand factors
affecting success / risk of becoming invasive
-More and more introduction programs are likely to be
needed with the increasing effects of global warming