Systematics and endangered species conservation
Why worry about systematics?
Systematics is the science of diversity, and if we are concerned about the loss of diversity one might think that it would be a major contributor to the theory and practice of conservation biology. After all, before you can conserve anything, you have to be able to identify what it is you intend to conserve. The U.S. Endangered Species Act (http://endangered.fws.gov/esa.html) specifies, for example, that
§3.D.15 The term ``species'' includes any subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct population segment of any species or vertebrate fish or wildlife which interbreeds when mature.
We've already seen some important ways that ecology and genetics contribute to conservation biology, and we'll see more through the remainder of this course. Part of the reason is that much conservation effort is expended on ecosystems or habitats rather than individual species. Nonetheless, systematics plays an important role, and there are some important ways in which it should contribute more in the future. Soltis and Gitzendanner [10
] identify four of them.
- Species concepts
- Identifying lineages worthy of conservation
- Setting conservation priorities
- The effects of hybridization on the biology and conservation of rare species
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Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, Nikos Drakos, Computer Based Learning Unit, University of Leeds.
The translation was initiated by Kent Holsinger on 2005-09-25
Copyright © 1997, 1998, 1999, Ross Moore, Mathematics Department, Macquarie University, Sydney.