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A LEVEL ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE: Conservation of Biodiversity
Terms in this set (91)
the study of the relationship between living things and between living things and their environment
refers to an area and the conditions in which an organism lives.
rationale for wildlife conservation
- gene pool/genetic diversity.
- medical services.
plants with commercial cultivation potential
- potato bean of north America (protein source).
- moramo bean of south Africa (protein source & drought resistant).
- yeheb tree of Somalia (drought resistant & grows in poor conditions).
use of knowledge of adaptations of other species to improve design of manufactured items, e.g. bird wings for planes, spiderwebs for airbag material.
plants used for medicine
- poppies cultivated for painkillers.
- cinchona tree used to produce quinine.
- willow tree bark used to make aspirin
advantages of animal testing
- prevents loss of a more intelligent life form (humans).
disadvantages of animal testing
- expensive to keep animals.
- products will have different impacts on animals than they will on humans.
ethical issues with animal testing
- limit to how much pain can be inflicted on animals.
- have to avoid specific 'sacred' animals.
moral issues with animal testing
- animals can feel pain.
- can't allow a person to die so that an animal doesn't.
- animals have no way to consent.
biological pest control
- method of controlling pests such as insects.
- relies on predation, parasitism, herbivory, but also involves human activity.
biological control agents
predators = ladybirds, aphids.
parasites = lay eggs in or on host
pathogens = bacteria, fungi, viruses
- total variety of genes in all members of a population.
- domestic species are often inbred.
- less able to adapt.
- reduces extinction.
where crops were first domesticated and wild varieties are still found.
centre of origin
geographical area where a group of organisms, either domesticated or wild, first developed its distinctive properties.
characteristics introduced from crop wild relative species (CWR)
- disease resistance.
- resistance to drought.
- high yield.
- improved taste or appearance.
- nutrient uptake.
gene pool problems
- a large population does not always guarantee a large gene pool.
- domestic species are often produced from a very small number of original ancestors.
plants are autotrophs because they produce their own food from light.
a nutrient cycle is the movement and exchange of organic and inorganic matter back into the production of living matter.
living organisms provide services that aid the survival of other species.
- pollen must be transferred from the stamen to the stigma so that seeds can be made.
- if transferred between the same species, stronger seeds are made.
- pollen can be carried by insects, birds, and bats.
- more reliable than wind pollination.
- when animals go to the flowers to get nectar, the pollen is transferred.
species specific dependency; flowers & animals
- many flowers have evolved to attract particular insects/birds.
- many insects/birds have evolved to feed from particular plants.
- e.g. hummingbirds and Mandeville.
- wind dispersal cannot be relied on as distance and direction is not definite.
- seeds must be small to travel far by wind so germination is less likely.
- animal dispersal is more reliable.
- fruits can be eaten by plants and then seeds are germinated by excretion from animal.
soil maintenance by organisms
- plants and animals recycle nutrients.
- worms and termites mix and aerate soil.
- microorganisms decompose dead vegetation.
- humans remove vegetation cover and restart soil formation.
threats to biodiversity: habitat destruction
main threat. important to protect habitat in order to protect biodiversity within it. huge pressure from the world's rapidly increasing population.
threats to biodiversity: global climate change
change in abiotic elements of ecosystems leading to biotic change.
threats to biodiversity: habitat fragmentation
from human activity. reduces ability of habitat to support species.
threats to biodiversity: pollution
introduction of pollutants such as nutrient overloading with nitrate fertiliser as well as more immediately harmful chemicals.
threats to biodiversity: over-exploitation
this includes the illegal wildlife trade as well as overloading. logging of tropical hardwoods etc.
threats to biodiversity: alien species
introduces by humans to regions where there are no natural predators.
threats to biodiversity: disease
reduction in habitat causing high population densities. encourages spread of disease.
human threat to wildlife: pets and entertainment
- sea world/zoos etc.
- hunting for fun.
human threat to wildlife: accidental
- road kill.
- not recycling (plastic in ocean).
- fishermen catching the wrong thing (dolphins/turtles).
human threat to wildlife: food
human threat to wildlife: deliberate eradication
- foxes and badgers (badgers give TB to cows).
- sharks (attacking humans).
- wolves and rabbits (danger and pests).
- position than an organism has in its ecosystems - includes how it makes use of resources and responds to other species in its habitat.
- two different species cannot occupy exactly the same niche otherwise there would be competition.
- indigenous species in an area are adapted to their surroundings.
- an introduced species may have a competitive advantage over the indigenous species, which then may not be able to survive.
- this occurs more often in isolated areas.
- indigenous to a particular area, not naturally found elsewhere.
- e.g. pink land iguana, Galapagos islands.
some introduced species occupy the same niche as indigenous species and may out-compete them. e.g:
- grey squirrel out competing red squirrel.
- Japanese knotweed competes will all plant species in an area.
changes in abiotic factors: water availability
over-exploitation of groundwater may cause surface wetland habitats to dry out, making it impossible for wetland species to survive.
changes in abiotic factors: temperature
temperature change can highly impact wildlife. growth and survival of some may increase, but others may not be adapted to survive the change.
- an area of habitat in which the influences of humans have prevented the ecosystem from developing further.
- the ecosystem may have been stopped from reaching its full climatic climax or deflected towards a different climax by:
- cutting down vegetation.
- planting trees/crops.
- build up of excess nutrients e.g. nitrates and phosphorous in water bodies.
- caused by release of untreated sewage into rivers.
increasing concentration of a substance (e.g. toxic chemicals) in the tissues of tolerant organisms at successively higher levels in a food chain.
accumulation of substances (e.g. pesticides) in an organism. occurs when an organism absorbs a substance at a rate faster than which it is lost via catabolism and excretion.
convention on international trade in endangered species.
CITES appendix 1
complete ban on trade (except by special licence).
- species threatened with extinction.
- tiger, blue whale, rhino, chimpanzee, gorilla.
CITES appendix 2
- species may be threatened with extinction if trade is not controlled.
- great white shark, hippo, polar bear, whale shark.
issues with CITES
- often occur in less developed countries as they don't have the resources or people to enforce the laws.
- appendix 1 can impact indigenous tribes as they sustainably trade animals for money.
- international union of conservation of nature.
- created in 1948.
- 160 countries.
roles of IUCN
- coordinating global data on biodiversity conservation.
- increasing understanding of the importance of biodiversity.
- deploying nature-based solutions to global challenges in climate, food, and sustainable diversity.
IUCN red list categories
- extinct (EX).
- extinct in wild (EW).
- critically endangered (CR).
- endangered (EN).
- vulnerable (VU).
- near threatened (NT).
- least concerned (LC).
- data deficient (DD).
- not evaluated (NE).
a species that people will pay to protect, in turn, protecting the entire ecosystem.
regulation of sustainable exploitation
if a species is exploited at a sustainable level then its future might not be threatened.
- international whaling commission.
- global body charged with the conservation of whales and the management of whaling.
- European union common fisheries policies.
- set of rules for managing European fishing fleets and for conserving fish stocks.
- international tropical timber organisation.
- intergovernmental organisation that promotes conservation of tropical forest resources and their sustainable management, use, and trade.
- off site conservation
- management can occur within or outside a species' natural geographic range.
- in an ex situ environment, animals/species may develop weak genes as they haven't been under any selection pressure.
- conservation of species in natural populations.
role of zoos
- justification by emphasising role in conservation.
- zoos capture endangered animals and try to set up breeding programmes.
- rare animals are exchanged internationally to increase genetic diversity and prevent inbreeding.
problems with zoos
- the ability for an animal to survive in its natural habitat is reduced the longer an animal is kept in captivity.
- behaviour of young needs to be learned from experienced animals before release into the wild.
methods of increasing breeding success
- cryopreservation (freezing eggs or sperm).
- artificial semination.
- embryo transfer.
methods of plant conservation
- in situ and ex situ conservation.
- field gene banks (collections of growing plants).
- seed banks (storage of seeds).
problems with seed banks
- viability of seeds declines the longer they are stored. gene pool can be reduced.
- storing large seeds or fruits is difficult.
- seeds and fruits with high water content are hard to store e.g. coconuts.
micro-propagation of plants
- large number of plants produced from a tissue sample of the original plant without the need for seeds.
- they are all genetically identical, therefore, limited genetic variation/diversity can lead to issues around adaptability and disease.
releasing captive animals: hard release
- animal leaves container with no further care or feed provision.
- used for rehabilitation only.
- least appropriate for young or hand reared animals.
releasing captive animals: soft release
- continuing to care for animals at release site, particularly backup feeding.
- important for hand reared animals or animals that have been in care for a prolonged period of time.
method of increasing biodiversity. large scale conservation.
changes in the population or community structures that occur at the boundary of two habitats.
changes in the environmental conditions that result in from the proximity to a structurally different environment.
direct biological effects
changes in species abundance and distribution caused directly by physical conditions near the edge.
indirect biological effects
change in species interactions such as predation, competition, herbivory, biotic pollination, and seed dispersal.
features of antarctic
- extreme cold.
- little precipitation.
- high albedo.
- high levels of marine nutrients.
- extreme seasonal change.
threats to Antarctic
- climate change.
- ozone depletion.
- future mineral exploitation.
importance of Antarctic
- water store (2/3 of earth's fresh water).
- ice albedo.
- carbon sequestration.
- resources (iron, copper, gold).
features of tropical coral reefs
- huge structures.
- small algae (symbiotic relationship) gives colour.
- 'bleached' when algae leaves, e.g. if water temp is too high.
importance of tropical coral reefs
- form nurseries for 25% of world's fish.
- generates tourism, great barrier reef generates more than $1 bn ASD per year.
- breaks up power of waves during storms so protects coasts from erosion.
threats to tropical coral reefs
- rising sea water temp due to climate change can cause bleaching or diseases.
- ocean acidification can dissolve coral skeletons and prevent growth.
- overfishing destroys ecosystems.
- fishing with harmful chemicals e.g. cyanide.
conservation efforts of tropical coral reefs
- protected areas, e.g. GBR (no fishing zones, fishing zones etc).
- rearing, transplanting, and monitoring of reef fragments.
- responsible interactions by humans.
conservation efforts of the Antarctic
- Antarctic treaty (1959).
- waste management.
- tourism & fisheries control.
features of temperate broadleaf woodlands
- four layers.
- mostly found in northern hemisphere.
- oak, beech, maple, and birch trees.
- occur where there are distinct warm and cold periods.
importance of temperate broadleaf woodlands
- stepping stone for species moving across countryside.
- provide materials e.g. timber.
threats to temperature broadleaf woodlands
- forest cleared for agriculture or development.
- invasive, non-native species compete for food and space with native species.
conservation efforts for temperate broadleaf woodlands
- companies pledge to plant trees, e.g toilet role companies.
- UK woodland trust manage over 1000 sites and advocate for trees and forests generally.
features of tropical rain forests
- 200 cm of rain per year.
- canopy layer.
- high levels of biodiversity.
- symbiotic relationships between species.
importance of tropical rainforests
- absorb high levels of CO2 from atmosphere, e.g. amazon absorbs 2.2 billion tonnes per year.
- home to many rare species.
- source of food and medicinal products.
threats to tropical rainforests
- 22 591 km squared of rainforest cut down yearly.
- wood is used for timber and fires.
- space used for agriculture.
- sometimes experiences drought, e.g. 2005 and 2010 in amazon.
conservation efforts for tropical rainforests
- education, e.g. TREES (teach, restore, encourage, establish, support).
- sustainable forestry.
- improvement of land use.
- establishing protected areas.
- survival rate
- age structure
technology for ecological monitoring
- markings (e.g. tags)
- auditory monitoring (sounds)
- radios/GPS/satellite tracking
indirect evidence for ecological monitoring
- droppings (evidence of diet)
- feeding marks
- territorial marks (e.g. scratching posts)
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