Conservation Biology

Be sure to put your name on the FIRST page of this exam, but not the remainder of the pages. I must receive the hard copy of the printed and signed first page of the exam, or your exam will not be graded. Please upload the full exam into our class Canvas site no later than Monday March 26th by midnight. No late exams will be accepted. Do not procrastinate. Use the four days that you have to think about your responses, and develop them thoroughly. Do some research, and make sure that you “sit on” your answers, and go back and read them again before you turn in your exam. Do not rush, or it will be evident, and you will not make a good grade. Paste in the questions to your Word Doc that you are answering.. do not just paste in the number. I need to see the question while I am grading each essay. No other types of documents will be accepted (pages, PDF’s, etc.)
This exam is made up of four essay questions. You will choose two to answer for 50 points each, OR you may choose three to answer for 33.3 points each [up to you!]. You must type your answers. Any drawings or supplemental figures can be included; please insert them directly into your document. You must submit error-free, proofed cohesive answers. Your answers must be fully developed and contain properly cited sources (see each question for detailed directions). Developed answers are those that contain examples that back up your argument, and do not leave the reader with unanswered questions. Be sure to have an introductory and closing argument for each essay. Remember you are writing for your reader, not for yourself. And you should assume that your reader (me) has only a basic understanding of general biology. Your grade will primarily be based on content; however, I will dock points for typos, errors, lack of or incorrect citations. Any plagiarism will result in a zero for this exam. Do not copy the work of others. Do not use quotes in your answers. Paraphrase and use your own words. You must cite the literature when appropriate, but you do not need to cite the textbook, as that is considered general knowledge. Do NOT exceed the word counts or you will be docked points.
Each essay question will be graded blindly and one at a time, meaning that I will grade all of your essays #1, and then assign grades to each essay relative to the BEST answer in the class, then essay #2 and then #3 and so on. I will not know whose essays I am grading. This is the fairest and most objective way to grade essay exams. If your answer is the best in the class, you will receive 50 points, and all other essays will be graded relative to that best essay. I will post the “best” answers anonymously for the class after the exam (if I am granted permission by the students) , so that you may use those as guides to help you prepare for the final exam.
Good luck, and please put your best effort into this experience. This test is meant to be a learning experience for you, as much as it is meant as an assessment. Part of understanding what you have learned and how much you have learned is making new connections. So, if there are things on the exam that you haven’t seen before, that is why. You are using your new knowledge to make decisions, to make assessments, and / or to develop new approaches for Conserving Biodiversity.
Have fun!
Conservation biology considered a multidisciplinary field of science, which draws on plethora approaches, backgrounds and tools. One major argument for conservation is to preserve full ecosystems, as outlined as an objective in the Endangered Species Act. However, many scientists only concentrate on conservation of one species (also a major objective in the ESA). Argue for both of the major objectives of the ESA in regards to the appropriate approach to take for conservation. How does one go about protecting one species at a time? How important is taking a population level-approach to conserving a species? What tools are used for this strategy and which are most effective? Explain. Alternatively, how does one go about preserving whole ecosystems, and how does this potentially affect single species? Should certain types of species be targeted, and if so, why? How does this work for developing conservation plans? As a conservation biologist what challenges would you face using this full ecosystem approach? What collaborators might you need? Finally, comparing and contrasting these major objectives of the ESA, which is most important for conservation of our planet, and why? Back up your argument with supporting examples. Use at least 5 citations from the primary literature for this answer, and be sure to cite correctly. Any “gray” literature citations such as the ESA also count. However, even though you may use them if you like, website and other links do not count as peer reviewed science. This essay should be comprised of NO MORE THAN 2000 words and should include at least 3 citations from the primary literature.
You are all now familiar with the story of Sudan, the last of the southern white rhino males. You are a conservation biologist with expertise in genetics, and large mammals, as you have used genetic approaches for conservation of many endangered species in your career. You are called on to consult with the Kenya National Zoo to develop a conservation plan to save the 5 rhino species. Using the current situation with the rhino populations in Africa, take a conservation genetics approach to preserving these 5 species, and particularly the two white rhino subspecies. Where would you start? What methods would you use and why? What molecular markers would you use, and why? What data would be generated, and how would these data be used to develop your conservation plan. Use at least 3 citations from the primary literature. Each essay should be comprised of NO MORE THAN 1500 words.
You are an expert conservation biologist who specializes in invasive species and their effects on endangered species and ecosystems that harbor endangered or vulnerable species. The lionfish invasion is getting worse around the globe. Lionfish, native to Asia, are now spreading into the Gulf of Mexico and preying on many other fish species that are important for maintaining biodiversity and serve as prey for many native fishes. Importantly, the lionfish preys on many crustaceans and small game fish such as snapper and grouper. How might the lionfish population boom affect this ecosystem from 1) a biodiversity perspective; 2) from a food web perspective; 3) from an economic perspective; and 4) an ecosystem service perspective. Choose one of these (of numbers 1-4) and develop a plan to deal with the lionfish invasion in the Gulf of Mexico from that perspective. Use at least 5 citations from the primary literature. Each essay should be comprised of NO MORE THAN 2000 words. That is about two-two and a half pages single spaced, or four to five pages double spaced.
You are a conservation biologist and ecologist with expertise in habitat assessment and modeling. You have been called in by the US Fish and Wildlife as an expert consultant to develop a conservation plan for the ocelot as the border wall continues to be built along the Mexico Texas border. You are being paid handsomely to develop a conservation plan for the ocelot that will allow the cat to persist in its current range and still move across the border as it has a very large homerange. Specifically the USFWS wants to know: 1. How much land is necessary to preserve the cat long-term (in hopes that this might prevent the wall in certain areas along the border); 2. How many breeding pairs must be conserved to maintain viable population sizes long-term? In your plan, consider the following as your figure out the best solution to this problem: the behavior of the cat, the home range of the cat, site fidelity of the cat, life history strategies of the cat, and its current conservation status and population size. Use the following terms or phrases: home range, habitat assessment, species area curves, population viability models, minimum viable population, apex or keystone predator, population estimates. Each essay should be comprised of NO MORE THAN 1500 words. You must cite at least three papers from the primary literature.

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