Conservation ecology

Conservation ecology

hello my name is Chavez monk this is one of a series of videos involving ecology this video will focus on conservation ecology which wikipedia defines as the scientific study of the nature and status of Earth's biodiversity with the aim of protecting species their habitats and ecosystems from excessive rates of extinction and the erosion of biotic interactions a visual that might come to your mind is a tree hugger someone who might campaign for the environment as illustrated on this slide is someone embracing a tree in an attempt to prevent it from being filmed this video will focus on the impact of humans on the environment and ways to minimize negative human influences from chemicals that are used in pesticides leading to endangered species two houses play a role in conservation and how invasive species are control this field of ecology is very important it has minimized the human impact on the environment and preserved hundreds of different species from extinction why is it important to learn about conservation ecology humans undeniably play a large role in the environment we utilize a ton of different resources and populate most of the locations throughout the globe humans are responsible for bringing species to locations where they've never been before and changing the makeup at the environment significantly based upon fossil evidence and current population evaluations there are a tremendous number of species that are endangered of going extinct it has been suggested that the earth might now be experiencing the sixth major extinction the picture on this slide shows that in some groups of animals such as amphibians 40% of the species that are currently present on earth are at risk of extinction the risk the different species are currently in that is their risk of extinction is evaluated across the globe by a tremendous number of scientists the graphic on this slide shows the different classifications of threat from Lees concern to vulnerable endangered to extinct in the wild many of these different levels of threat as well as some example organisms that are current this level of threat will be described in the upcoming slides the first level that will be described or referred to as threatened species which are the three groups that are boxed in the red dashed line on this slide these species are at the greatest risk of extinction in the near future the least at risk of the threatened species are referred to as vulnerable species often due to threats to a habitat poaching or just a small population size threatened species are at risk of becoming endangered of extinction in the near future one example of a threatened species would be a lion they are threatened because of killing to protect human life and human livestock in addition much of their prey has been removed from their habitat endangered species are another type of threatened species endangered species are defined as organisms that are likely to become extinct in the near future if the conditions in that environment do not change the Copperhead snake is an example of an endangered species that's found in Iowa destruction of rocky wooded habitats that service summer feeding grounds excessive removal of snakes by snake collectors and mortality at the hands of snake hunters and the general public imperiled a copperhead snake its dependence on traditional den sites that are used for many years perhaps many generations make this species particularly vulnerable to exploitation by humans critically endangered species are threatened species with an exceptionally high risk of extinction not only do they meet the requirements for endangered species but they fulfil additional criteria that are exhibited on this slide one of the additional requirements is possessing a fragmented habitat this is defined as a species having a total range of less than 100 square kilometers that is either broken into very small separated regions or is being confined into one specific geographic area if organisms are unable to interbreed because they're separated that's a big problem and if something were to happen to one specific location where a species is located that can also lead to a quick extinction another requirement for critically endangered species is having a severe decline in habitat quality if the only habitat for an Asian elephant is a rainforest that's being harvested for wood the elephant would face additional obstacles that elephant would be at a much higher risk of going extinct in the near future extremely small populations as described in the ecology video on populations are also very susceptible to extinction this can be caused by increased incidents of inbreeding and susceptibility to disease finally populations that have very high projections for population decline or projected to have a high risk of extinction may qualify an organism for the critically endangered status these projections are usually produced mathematically based upon birth rates death rates and how common poaching may be for a population a population decline projection of 25% over one generation or three years for example or at least a 50% chance of going extinct in the wild over three generations or ten years would meet this criterion the western lowland gorilla is shown in the picture of the right would be a great example of a critically endangered species this population has dropped 80 percent over the last two decades due to poaching and susceptibility to disease because of its extremely low population size and in brief the Ebola virus is also a huge threat to these gorillas in the wild so we're going to simmer just right on the line between endangered and extinct P R David steer for example has been extinct in the wild since 1865 perhaps even earlier these organisms have not been eliminated entirely from the world however they can be found in zoos where conservation biologists work hard to sustain their existence umbrella species and flagship species refer to endangered or vulnerable populations that are found in locations where if conservation efforts are expended many other threatened creatures would also be protected in umbrella covers or protects other things and a flagship in an armada is usually the best known or the lead ship these two terms are used very frequently because of how fitting they are for how this species acts in reference to conservation efforts one example of an umbrella or flagship species would be the northern spotted owl northern spotted owls live in old-growth forests many threaten mollusks snails slugs for example and salamanders are within their protective boundaries of the northern spotted owl due to conservation effort put forth for protecting the northern spotted owl many mollusks and salamanders are also protected in these areas invasive species are organisms that are not naturally found in a particular area they are not what I referred to as native species as often as not these invasive or sometimes referred to as exotic or introduced species were brought to different locations by human by accident or as pets snakes are not native to Hawaii but when brought to the state as pets and released they have decimated bird bat and lizard populations costing the state of projected 123 million dollars Asian carp and zebra mussels are too invasive species that affect the Midwest Asian carp shown in the top picture impact the ecosystem in a number of ways first they jump out of the water in response to motorists and can cause people physical harm second they out-compete native species of fish that live in these areas and can reduce the biodiversity of the natural native ecosystems the zebra mussels have very recently spread throughout much of the United States as shown in the bottom picture of this slide commonly hitchhiking on barges and personal boats moved throughout different bodies of waters zebra mussels can produce over a million offspring per year again out competing virtually every other organism and aquatic ecosystems they are also responsible for clogging power plants and sometimes damaging the holes of boats there are many substances that are toxic to plants and animals that eventually make their way into the environment while the amount of this toxin absorbed by plants in an ecosystem may be quite low there may be some protein that eat the plants fish that eat those protists and fish that eat smaller fish eventually birds might eat the biggest of these fish as you move up the food chain illustrated in the picture that was just described the concentration of this toxin can get higher and higher while organisms low on the food chain such as producers and primary consumers may not be very affected the top carnivores at such a location can be poisoned through a process called biomagnification with all the different factors that can affect the environment it is important to have an idea how impact in an environment really is at a given time some organisms are more sensitive to change than others are by using what are called indicator species those species that have different known levels of tolerance to change as exhibited on the bottom picture in this slide ecologist can evaluate how the ecosystem as a whole is affected by some change if all the worms in a population were to start dying off for example the demise of this indicator species would indicate very high levels of pollution in the ecosystem the whole point of identifying organisms that are threatened or invasive to determine what chemicals may be toxic to organisms is for conservation purposes to figure out what organisms are in danger of dying off and to figure out what can be done to improve the situation one very successful conservation ecology story involves the bald eagle in 1782 the population of bald eagle pairs in the United States was estimated to be an excess of 100,000 over the next 80 years the population dropped by over 99% to around 400 pairs of bald eagles and they were placed on the endangered species list one reason for the sharp decline in population was due to hunting and the other part involved the use of the pesticide DDT which was a toxin that affected bald eagles due to biomagnification conservation biologists found two potential solutions legislation that banned hunting of bald eagles and also the banning of DDT is a pesticide due to these two pieces of legislation the population of bald eagles has increased about 2,500 percent there are now estimated to be an excess of 10,000 pairs of bald eagles in the continental United States and they have been removed from the threatened species list humans can threaten biodiversity or the diversity of life in an area in many ways agriculture aquaculture industry recreation mining are just a few examples that are listed here conservation biologists play a large role in all these fields in an attempt to reduce the negative impact of humans on the environment that is the end of this video on conservation ecology if you're interested in learning more about ecology or any other themes of biology please subscribe to my channel thank you

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