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The Impacts of Conservation Practices on Indigenous Populations

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Conservation is a complicated entity consisting of a multitude of professional fields including social issues, cultural issues, and physical science. This thesis evaluates the positive and negative aspects of two broad types of conservation: top down fortress conservation and bottom

Conservation is a complicated entity consisting of a multitude of professional fields including social issues, cultural issues, and physical science. This thesis evaluates the positive and negative aspects of two broad types of conservation: top down fortress conservation and bottom up community-based conservation. Fortress conservation has many negative aspects, such as displacing human communities and preventing utilization of resources. However, it also has positive aspects, such as preventing the destruction of delicate ecosystems and slowing down extinctions. Community-based conservation is more inclusive and focuses on including the indigenous populations located within the proposed conservation site in the decision-making process. Its negatives include having an anthropocentric goal instead of valuing nature's intrinsic values. Understanding the differences inherent in these two methods is necessary in order to implement a conservation network with the highest chance for success.

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2014-05

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Eco-physiological implications of conservation of dhubs (Uromastyx aegyptius) in Kuwait

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Desert environments provide considerable challenges to organisms because of high temperatures and limited food and water resources. Accordingly, desert species have behavioral and physiological traits that enable them to cope with these constraints. However, continuing human activity as

Desert environments provide considerable challenges to organisms because of high temperatures and limited food and water resources. Accordingly, desert species have behavioral and physiological traits that enable them to cope with these constraints. However, continuing human activity as well as anticipated further changes to the climate and the vegetative community pose a great challenge to such balance between an organism and its environment. This is especially true in the Arabian Desert, where climate conditions are extreme and environmental disturbances substantial. This study combined laboratory and field components to enhance our understanding of dhub (Uromastyx aegyptius) ecophysiology and determine whether habitat protection influences dhub behavior and physiology.

Results of this study showed that while body mass and body condition consistently diminished as the active season progressed, they were both greater in protected habitats compared to non-protected habitats, regardless of season. Dhubs surface activity and total body water decreased while evaporative water loss and body temperature increased as the active season progressed and ambient temperature got hotter. Total body water was also significantly affected by habitat protection.

Overall, this study revealed that, while habitat protection provided more vegetation, it had little effect on seasonal changes in surface activity. While resource availability in protected areas might allow for larger dhub populations, unprotected areas showed similar body morphometrics, activity, and body temperatures. By developing an understanding of how different coping strategies are linked to particular ecological, morphological, and phylogenetic traits, we will be able to make more accurate predictions regarding the vulnerability of species. By combining previous studies pertaining to conservation of protected species with the results of my study, a number of steps in ecosystem management are recommended to help in the preservation of dhubs in the Kuwaiti desert.

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Date Created
2017

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Hibernation Ecology of Bats Using Three High-Elevation Caves in Northern Arizona: Implications for Potential White-nose Syndrome Impacts on Desert Southwest Species

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Desert ecosystems of the southwest United States are characterized by hot and arid climates, but hibernating bats can be found at high altitudes. The emerging fungal infection, white-nose syndrome, causes mortality in hibernating bat populations across eastern North America and

Desert ecosystems of the southwest United States are characterized by hot and arid climates, but hibernating bats can be found at high altitudes. The emerging fungal infection, white-nose syndrome, causes mortality in hibernating bat populations across eastern North America and the pathogen is increasingly observed in western regions. However, little is known about the ecology of hibernating bats in the southwest, which can help predict how these populations may respond to the fungus. My study investigated hibernating bats during two winters (2018-2019/2019-2020) at three caves in northern Arizona to: (1) describe diversity and abundance of hibernating bats using visual internal surveys and photographic documentation, (2) determine the duration of hibernation by recording bat echolocation call sequences outside caves and recording bat activity in caves using visual inspection, and (3) describe environmental conditions where hibernating bats are roosting. Adjacent to bats, I collected temperature and relative humidity, which I converted into absolute humidity. I documented hibernation status (i.e. active vs. not active) and roosting body position (i.e. open, partially hidden, and hidden). Between September 2018 and April 2019, 246 bat observations were recorded across the three caves. The majority of bats were identified as Myotis spp. (45.9\%, n=113), followed by Corynorhinus townsendii (45.5\%, n=112), Parastrellus hesperus (4.8\%, n=12), Eptesicus fuscus (3.6\%, n=9). Between September 2019 and April 2020, I documented a total of 361 bat observations across the three caves. C. townsendii was most prevalent (52.9\%, n=191), followed by the category P. hesperus/Myotis spp. (25.7\%, n=93), Myotis spp. (12.4\%, n=45), P. Hesperus (4.4\%, n=16), E. fuscus (3.6\%, n=13) and Unknown (0.8\%, n=3). Average conditions adjacent to bats were, temperature=12.5ºC, relative humidity=53\%, and absolute humidity=4.9 g/kg. Hibernating bats were never observed in large clusters and the maximum hibernating population size was 24, suggesting low risk for pathogen transmission among bats. Hibernation lasted approximately 120 days, with minimal activity documented inside and outside caves. Hibernating bats in northern Arizona may be at low risk for white-nose syndrome based on population size, hibernation length, roosting behavior, and absolute humidity, but other variables (e.g. temperature) indicate the potential for white-nose syndrome impacts on these populations.

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2020