Conservation Ecology

1. Thylacine Extinction. The authors of that article used a statistical model to demonstrate the likely mechanisms behind this particular extinction. In doing so, they contradicted previous models. The authors say that since their research takes a more comprehensive look at the potential causes of this extinction, their model is likely to be more realistic. What do you think? What are the advantages of using models? Disadvantages? Do the advantages of models wear thin if you need to supply extensive information about what you’re looking at? How do you find that balance?

2. Adaptation to Climate Change. What do you think of the adaptation strategies presented in your climate change reading this week? Have you run across any examples of when these strategies have been used? Are some more realistic/useful than others? What do you think of this approach in general — should wildlife managers and conservation biologists be concerned with adaptation strategies?

3. Urban Protected Areas. Take a look at a map (using Google Maps, for example) of an urban area (yours or somewhere else). What do you notice about the green spaces marked on the map? Do you see any patterns? If so, why do they exist? Thoughts on pros/cons of what this might mean? Would you change green space/protected area management and creation in this city? Are there ways your city could design green spaces to make it more friendly to biodiversity?

4. Decreasing Birth Rates. Your text and one of your additional readings discusses the impact of population growth on biodiversity, and also offers a few reasons why birth rates decrease in some places. Do some research — what other factors seem to affect human birth rates? What are the implications?