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conservation biology

a division of science that studies the effects of human activities on species, communities, and ecosystems and to develop practical approaches to preventing the extinction of species and the destruction of ecosystems.


application of mathematics and computer science to store, retrieve, and analyze biological data


the diversity of plant and animal life in a particular habitat (or in the world as a whole), gene variability & the communities where they live

endangered species

a species at risk of extinction

threatened species

a species that could become endangered in the near future

biodiversity hotspots

areas containing unusually high concentrations of species

direct value

used directly by us! humans depend on plants and animals to provide food, clothing, energy, medicine, and shelter

medicinal value

living organisms that help with medicine production

agricultural value

organisms that help w/ agriculture (rice)

consumptive value

organisms we eat

indirect value

or non-consumptive use value; refers to the intrinsic value of ecosystem services in biodiversity:
photosynthesis, production of soil, regulation of climate, biogeochemical cycles, waste disposal, provides fresh water, prevent soil erosion, regulates climate, ecotourism


disappearance of a species from all parts of its geographical range

habitat loss

the process in which natural habitat is rendered functionally unable to support the species present. In this process, the organisms, which previously used the site, are displaced or destroyed, reducing biodiversity.

exotic species

organisms that are not native to a particular area


Release of harmful materials into the environment, undesirable state of the natural environment being contaminated with harmful substances as a consequence of human activities

acid deposition

The return to earth as rain or snow of the sulfate or nitrate salts of acids produced by commercial and industrial activities.


process by which a body of water becomes too rich in dissolved nutrients, leading to plant growth that depletes oxygen

ozone depletion

thinning of Earth's ozone layer caused by CFC's leaking into the air and reacting chemically with the ozone, breaking the ozone molocules apart

organic chemicals

pesticides, fertilizers, plastics, detergents...

global warming

an increase in the average temperature of the earth's atmosphere (especially a sustained increase that causes climatic changes)


the number of individuals taken from a population is so great that the population becomes severely reduced in members

keystone species

a species whose impact on its community or ecosystem are much larger and more influential than would be expected from mere abundance

flagship species

Especially interesting or attractive organisms that people respond to emotionally. Motivate public to preserve biodiversity and contribute to conservation. EX: giant panda ( panda sneezing)


A group of spatially separated populations of one species that interact through immigration and emigration. Separated due to habitat fragmentation.

source population

A population that has a surplus of individuals that are able to emigrate to other areas

sink population

A population that relies on immigration, fewer offspring produced than can coexist (numbers decline)

edge effect

the different conditions along the boundaries of an ecosystem compared to the more favorable ones on the inside

gap analysis

a biogeographical technique of mapping biological diversity and endemic species to find gaps between protected areas that leave endangered habitats vulnerable to disruption; use of computers to discover places where biodiversity is high outside of preserved areas

population viability analysis

helps determine how much habitat a species requires to maintain itself; minimum population size needed to prevent extinction

restoration ecology

Applying ecological principles in an effort to return ecosystems that have been disturbed by human activity to a condition as similar as possible to their natural state. A subdiscipline of conservation biology.

sustainable development

Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Management of an ecosystem so that it maintains itself while providing services to human beings.

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