Marine Conservation Biology esp 198-024 Fall 2007 Marine Conservation Biology



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Marine Conservation Biology ESP 198-024 Fall 2007

Marine Conservation Biology

  • ESP 198-024
  • CRN 54650 - 3 units
  • Lecture: Tues. & Thurs. 1:40-3:00 p.m., Olson 217
  • Instructor: Ted Grosholz, Department of Environmental Science and Policy
  • Office and Hours: 3114 Wickson Hall, 752-9151, Office Hours: Tues. 3-4 pm or by appointment

Marine Conservation Biology

  • Lecture Format:
    • The period of 1.5 hours
    • Lecture will generally be followed by questions and discussion
    • Five minute break mid-lecture

Marine Conservation Biology

  • Grading:
    • Final Exam (35%) (Dec. 14)
    • Midterm Exam (25%) (Oct. 30)
    • Two Essays (15% each, 30% total) (Nov. 15, Dec. 6)
    • Attendance and Participation (10%)

Marine Conservation Biology

  • Essays:
    • Two essays due during the quarter
    • Essays are no more than two pages
    • Issues and/or controversies in marine conservation biology
    • Read two short papers discussing different perspectives on each issue

Marine Conservation Biology

  • Course Philosophy:
    • Many ways to approach science and conservation science
    • Although scientific method is objective, scientists and users of science are generally not
    • Questions asked, methods used, and interpretations of data are subjective
    • Try not to defend positions, but try to provide evidence and discuss controversies where applicable
    • Need to understand limits of science and its use

Class Information

  • Name
  • Year and Major
  • Classes taken
    • Ecology and evolution
    • Fisheries, conservation, wildlife management
    • Marine sciences, oceanography, limnology
    • Statistics, math, computer science
  • Email/contact information
  • Three most important issues in Marine Conservation

Defining Marine Conservation Biology

  • Marine Conservation biology is the science of conserving marine biodiversity
  • “Biological diversity” or “biodiversity” was first used in the context of conservation around 1980
  • Diversity occurs at many levels from genes to species to ecosystems
  • Marine systems have much greater diversity at higher taxonomic levels
  • 32 of 33 animal phyla are in the oceans
  • 15 phyla are exclusively marine

Defining Marine Conservation Biology

  • Marine Conservation Biology occurs at the interface of the scientific study of marine systems and the public policy goal of conserving marine resources
  • Focus on the science of marine conservation, although occasional discuss how science is used in policy

Defining Marine Conservation Biology

  • “Marine systems” will be a shorthand for a wide range of coastal and marine systems
    • Open oceans and deep oceans
    • Coral reefs and temperature reefs
    • Sea grasses and sandflats
    • Coastal bays and estuaries
    • Polar oceans and polynyas

Reasons for Conserving Marine Biodiversity

  • Important source of protein
    • Some countries (Indonesia, Japan, Philippines) more than 50% of the protein comes from ocean
  • Unique pharmaceuticals
    • Anti-tumor compounds like Didemnin b (from tunicates) and Bryostatin (from bryozoans) and Dolastatins (from sea hares)
    • Carrageenan and agar from red algae

Reasons for Conserving Marine Biodiversity

  • Ecosystem services provided by coastal and marine systems
    • Mangroves, marshes, sea grasses help buffer coastal areas from wind and waves
    • They stabilize sediments and prevent erosion of coastal areas
    • Corals literally create new land masses, many topical islands are entirely coral
    • Global climate is regulated by the oceans (CO2) exchange, ocean is a large sink for atmospheric CO2

Reasons for Conserving Marine Biodiversity

  • Aesthetics
  • Recreation
  • Marine wilderness
  • Value of life

Why Marine Conservation Biology

  • Reasons for conserving diversity are generally similar to terrestrial systems
  • Significant differences in the habitats, organisms and compared with land and traditional conservation biology
  • Also many differences in legal structures, governance and policies
  • Conservation biology in marine systems does build on conservation efforts in terrestrial systems, but must reflect realities of the oceans

Differences Between Marine and Terrestrial Systems

  • Oceans are physically different
    • Water is 850 times denser and 60 times more viscous
    • Greater buoyancy for organisms
      • Organisms can be much larger
      • Larger size usually influences life history
    • Sound and electricity conducted more efficiently
      • Communication pathways differ, subject to human impacts

Differences Between Marine and Terrestrial Systems

  • Oceans are physically different
    • Light absorption
      • Majority of ocean is light limited
    • Steeper pressure gradient
      • Can restrict distribution of organisms
    • Greater thermal stability
      • Temperature changes slowly
      • Many tropical organisms live near their thermal limit

Differences Between Marine and Terrestrial Systems

  • Ocean habitats are much more 3-dimensional
  • Ocean systems have boundaries defined by temperature, light, salinity, depth, wind, currents, upwelling, etc.
    • Boundaries shift on scales of hours to days
  • Vertical gradients of temperature, light, pressure change rapidly near the surface but more slowly with depth
    • Biological zones are more compressed near the surface

Differences Between Marine and Terrestrial Systems

  • Organisms are different
    • Large diversity of planktonic organisms (holoplanktonic=entire life or meroplanktonic=part of life)
    • Much more diverse and permanent than aero-plankton (seeds, spores, spiders, flying insects)
  • Species on average have larger ranges
    • Populations are more “open”
  • Large numbers of sessile animals
    • Filter and suspension feeders

Differences Between Marine and Terrestrial Systems

  • Marine primary producers are smaller relative to consumers
    • Important marine plants are small and short-lived (phytoplankton)
    • Important terrestrial plants are larger and longer-lived (trees)
  • Food chains in the oceans are longer on average
    • Average of 6-7 links

Differences Between Marine and Terrestrial Systems

  • Threats are different
    • Loss of habitat generally not a critical issue (IMPORTANT exceptions: coral reefs, sea grasses, salt marshes, mangroves)
    • Overexploitation of non-target species is a primary issue
    • Extinction (so far) is rare outside of birds and mammals in marine systems

Differences Between Marine and Terrestrial Systems

  • Much of the world’s oceans are subject to international law
  • Majority of open ocean and deep ocean habitats are less well studied than terrestrial habitats
  • Observation of many species, let alone identification is difficult
  • Diversity hot spots and patterns are less clear

Similarities Among Terrestrial and Marine Systems

  • There are threatened and endangered species, even invertebrates
  • Species have been driven extinct and this continues
  • There are particular high priority areas
    • Islands with high endemism (unique species)
      • Ascension Isl., Easter Isl., Galapagos Islands
    • Isolated seas and oceans
      • Baltic Sea, Adriatic Sea, Black Sea, Sea of Cortez

Similarities Among Terrestrial and Marine Systems

  • There are particular high priority areas
    • Spawning grounds and nursery areas
      • Coral reef fishes
      • Sea grasses and estuaries
    • Areas of high productivity
      • Upwelling zones, polar ice edges
    • Migration stopover areas
      • Birds and mammals

Similarities Among Terrestrial and Marine Systems

  • There are high priority species
    • Taxonomically distinct
    • Species with limited distributions or small population size
    • Species with life histories low recruitment (slow to recover)
    • Restricted habitats
    • Exploited species


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