Behavioral Ecology and Conservation Biology

Behavioral Ecology and Conservation Biology

Behavioral Ecology and Conservation Biology

Behavioral Ecology and Conservation Biology

Synopsis

In the last few years, a handful of behavioural ecologists, increasingly concerned about species losses, have begun to address issues in conservation biology. Using data collected in the course of their fieldwork on mating systems, foraging behaviour, or habitat preferences, or simply by working on an endangered species, they have started to apply their findings to models of population growth and effective population size, hands-on management, and developing conservation strategies. This edited volume is the first attempt to link these disciplines formally.

Excerpt

Behavioral ecology is concerned with the strategies individuals use to maximize their genetic representation in future generations. In contrast, conservation biology focuses on small populations and the means by which extinctions can be prevented and habitats can be conserved. The first discipline involves basic research on individuals, whereas the second focuses on the fate of populations. Aside from the fact that small populations are composed of a handful of individuals, the disciplines seem far apart, and until very recently there was little connection between them.

Within the last few years, however, a handful of behavioral ecologists, increasingly concerned about species losses, have begun to address issues in conservation biology. During the 1970s and 1980s, the goal of most students heading to field sites was to determine whether particular behavioral or life-history traits were adaptive. Since the mid-1980s, however, many have returned from the field with a different agenda. The species on which they were working were under threat from poaching or habitat fragmentation, and former study sites had been converted to agricultural land. Increasingly, behavioral ecologists began to associate with colleagues from applied disciplines such as forest managers, park wardens, and wildlife and conservation biologists. Using data collected in the course of their fieldwork on mating systems, foraging behavior, or habitat preferences, or simply through working on an endangered species, behavioral ecologists tried to apply their findings to developing management plans or change existing ones. As yet, however, they have made little impact on conservation beiology because they have yet to generate general principles by which behavioral ecology advances understanding in conservation. Nor have they influenced their parent field because, in regard to conservation, they have been working in isolation, lacking a common forum for expressing their results and ideas.

In addition, there is now a cohort of incoming graduate students fascinated by the major advances in behavioral ecology since the 1970s but keen to slow the losses of species and habitats they see going on around them. While they recognize that the time has come to make behavioral ecology more relevant to a world rapidly becoming dominated by conservation issues, they do not have the expertise to put this into practice. Unfortunately, many of us are not yet able to provide a lead in bringing these disciplines together either.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.