Matching Items (23)

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An evaluation of the ecological and human health factors in protein source decisions

Description

Protein is an essential macronutrient in the human diet, but the source of this protein has both human health and environmental impacts. Health complications can result from protein deficiency, but

Protein is an essential macronutrient in the human diet, but the source of this protein has both human health and environmental impacts. Health complications can result from protein deficiency, but the practices by which protein sources are raised, grown, or harvested have environmental consequences, potentially reducing biodiversity, essential habitat, and crucial stocks of natural resources. Terrestrial cultivation encroaches on natural habitats and consumes resources inefficiently, while overfishing has greatly depleted wild fishery stocks. These environmental factors, along with concerns about nutrients, contaminants and the ethics of animal protein has led to confusion about weighing the risks and benefits associated with alternative sources of protein. Providing consumers \u2014 and policy makers \u2014 with a comprehensive account of major protein sources and their impacts in an understandable form is crucial to reducing environmental degradation and improving human health. Here I provide a general framework to compare the health and environmental impacts of livestock, seafood, and plant protein, and illustrate the application of this framework with case studies for each of these categories.

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Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Sharks and Society: Changing the Reputation of a Keystone Predator

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Globally, many species of shark are facing rapid population decline. This is due to increasing fishing pressures, primarily from the booming demand in China for shark fins for soup. In

Globally, many species of shark are facing rapid population decline. This is due to increasing fishing pressures, primarily from the booming demand in China for shark fins for soup. In recent years there has also been an increase in international shark conservation efforts, but there is still a long way to go in gathering support for those efforts. Public perception of sharks in America has been greatly influenced by negative media representations of them, Jaws being one of the most influential. Many of these representations are based on inaccurate information that has been disproven by science, but still lingers in popular culture. Symbolic Interactionism Theory proved to be a useful framework for unpacking the connections between public perception, mainstream culture and media, and conservation regarding sharks. A social psychological theory, Symbolic Interactionism describes the ways that people construct meaning about a topic through direct and indirect interactions, and how this meaning can change on individual, social, and cultural levels. By changing the way sharks are perceived and represented to the public, these important and incredible animals may gather the support they need to continue living in the world's oceans.

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  • 2014-05

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A HISTORY AND COMPARISON OF WOLF CONSERVATION IN THE WESTERN UNITED STATES AND ITALY

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Abstract This thesis is derived from the conservation biology field of study and seeks to chronicle and characterize the history of wolf conservation in the US, with a focus on

Abstract This thesis is derived from the conservation biology field of study and seeks to chronicle and characterize the history of wolf conservation in the US, with a focus on post-ESA listing and present day events. The compelling question this thesis seeks to address is how to make long-term wolf conservation effective and feasible in the United States. An overview of wolf life history is provided, as well as a brief overview of early wolf-human interactions in Europe and the US, before reviewing the following regions in the US: Yellowstone, Idaho/Montana/Wyoming, Alaska, and Arizona. The trend identified in all regions is described as a hostile political atmosphere with particular resentment by some stakeholders towards the federal enforcement of wolf conservation via the ESA. A comparative section on Italy is provided in contrast to this US theme, as Italy tends to have a much more relaxed attitude towards wolf conservation. For success in the future of wolf conservation three suggestions are made. First, efforts to protect wolves through federal regulation are to be dismissed. Second, efforts should instead focus on education of key demographics regarding responsible environmental management and wolf management specifically. Thirdly, conservationists must actively strive to remarket the wolf as a symbol of the freedom of the west as opposed to the symbol of Washington's encroachment on state's rights.

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Date Created
  • 2014-12

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Psychological, Ecological, and Ethical Dimensions of Bottlenose Dolphin Captivity

Description

Bottlenose dolphins, or Tursiops truncates, have captured the attention of humans for centuries leading people to keep them in captivity. However, people's love and an increase in knowledge for these

Bottlenose dolphins, or Tursiops truncates, have captured the attention of humans for centuries leading people to keep them in captivity. However, people's love and an increase in knowledge for these creatures have sparked many ethical debates on whether dolphins should be kept in captivity. In this paper, I discuss the different dimensions of bottlenose dolphin captivity focusing on the physiological, psychological, ecological and ethical concerns raised when comparing captive to wild bottlenose dolphins. In an analysis of the scientific literature, I found that captive bottlenose dolphins experience negative physical and psychological effects, including a shorter life span and a decrease in brain size. They also engage in more risky and harmful behaviors. Preexisting brain structures in bottlenose dolphins indicate enhanced emotional processing possibly leading to a more difficult life in captivity. Furthermore, modeling of bottlenose dolphin social networks have found that removal of dolphins from existing populations have negative repercussions for ecological communities, particularly effecting present and future pods due to their complex social systems called fission fusion societies. Furthermore, removal can have a deleterious effect on the environment due to their role as top predators. Available data suggest that bottlenose dolphins should be classified as non-human persons due to their cognitive abilities such as self-awareness, intentionality, creativity, and symbolic communication. This moral classification demands significant human duties and responsibilities to protect these cetaceans. Due to their similarities to humans, these results suggest that keeping bottlenose dolphins in captivity is ethically questionable and perhaps unjustifiable as captivity violates their basic rights.

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  • 2017-05

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Quantifying the Spatial Ecology of Wide-Ranging Marine Species in the Gulf of California: Implications for Marine Conservation Planning

Description

There is growing interest in systematic establishment of marine protected area (MPA) networks and representative conservation sites. This movement toward networks of no-take zones requires that reserves are deliberately and

There is growing interest in systematic establishment of marine protected area (MPA) networks and representative conservation sites. This movement toward networks of no-take zones requires that reserves are deliberately and adequately spaced for connectivity. Here, we test the network functionality of an ecoregional assessment configuration of marine conservation areas by evaluating the habitat protection and connectivity offered to wide-ranging fauna in the Gulf of California (GOC, Mexico). We first use expert opinion to identify representative species of wide-ranging fauna of the GOC. These include leopard grouper, hammerhead sharks, California brown pelicans and green sea turtles. Analyzing habitat models with both structural and functional connectivity indexes, our results indicate that the configuration includes large proportions of biologically important habitat for the four species considered (25–40%), particularly, the best quality habitats (46–57%). Our results also show that connectivity levels offered by the conservation area design for these four species may be similar to connectivity levels offered by the entire Gulf of California, thus indicating that connectivity offered by the areas may resemble natural connectivity. The selected focal species comprise different life histories among marine or marine-related vertebrates and are associated with those habitats holding the most biodiversity values (i.e. coastal habitats); our results thus suggest that the proposed configuration may function as a network for connectivity and may adequately represent the marine megafauna in the GOC, including the potential connectivity among habitat patches. This work highlights the range of approaches that can be used to quantify habitat protection and connectivity for wide-ranging marine species in marine reserve networks.

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  • 2011-12-06

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The Potential Impact of Labor Choices on the Efficacy of Marine Conservation Strategies

Description

Conservation of marine resources is critical to the wellbeing of human communities. Coastal artisanal fishing communities are particularly reliant on marine resources for food and for their livelihoods. Management actions

Conservation of marine resources is critical to the wellbeing of human communities. Coastal artisanal fishing communities are particularly reliant on marine resources for food and for their livelihoods. Management actions aimed at marine conservation may lead to unanticipated changes in human behavior that influence the ability of conservation programs to achieve their goals. We examine how marine conservation strategies may impact labor decisions that influence both the ecosystem and human livelihoods using simulation modeling. We consider two conservation strategies in the model: direct action through fisheries regulation enforcement, and indirect action through land conservation. Our results indicate that both strategies can increase the abundance of fish, and thus contribute to the maintenance of marine resources. However, our results also show that marine fisheries enforcement may negatively impact the livelihoods of human communities. Land conservation, on the other hand, potentially enhances the livelihood of the human populations. Thus, depending on management objectives, indirect or a combination of direct and indirect conservation strategies may be effective at achieving conservation and sustainability goals. These results highlight the importance of accounting for changes in human behavior resulting from management actions in conservation and management.

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Date Created
  • 2011-08-24

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Weak Polygyny in California Sea Lions and the Potential for Alternative Mating Tactics

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Female aggregation and male territoriality are considered to be hallmarks of polygynous mating systems. The development of genetic parentage assignment has called into question the accuracy of behavioral traits in

Female aggregation and male territoriality are considered to be hallmarks of polygynous mating systems. The development of genetic parentage assignment has called into question the accuracy of behavioral traits in predicting true mating systems. In this study we use 14 microsatellite markers to explore the mating system of one of the most behaviorally polygynous species, the California sea lion (Zalophus californianus). We sampled a total of 158 female-pup pairs and 99 territorial males across two breeding rookeries (San Jorge and Los Islotes) in the Gulf of California, Mexico. Fathers could be identified for 30% of pups sampled at San Jorge across three breeding seasons and 15% of sampled pups at Los Islotes across two breeding seasons. Analysis of paternal relatedness between the pups for which no fathers were identified (sampled over four breeding seasons at San Jorge and two at Los Islotes) revealed that few pups were likely to share a father. Thirty-one percent of the sampled males on San Jorge and 15% of the sampled males on Los Islotes were assigned at least one paternity. With one exception, no male was identified as the father of more than two pups. Furthermore, at Los Islotes rookery there were significantly fewer pups assigned paternity than expected given the pool of sampled males (p<0.0001). Overall, we found considerably lower variation in male reproductive success than expected in a species that exhibits behavior associated with strongly polygynous mating. Low variation in male reproductive success may result from heightened mobility among receptive females in the Gulf of California, which reduces the ability of males to monopolize groups of females. Our results raise important questions regarding the adaptive role of territoriality and the potential for alternative mating tactics in this species.

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  • 2012-03-14

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The Use of Surrogate Data in Demographic Population Viability Analysis: A Case Study of California Sea Lions

Description

Reliable data necessary to parameterize population models are seldom available for imperiled species. As an alternative, data from populations of the same species or from ecologically similar species have been

Reliable data necessary to parameterize population models are seldom available for imperiled species. As an alternative, data from populations of the same species or from ecologically similar species have been used to construct models. In this study, we evaluated the use of demographic data collected at one California sea lion colony (Los Islotes) to predict the population dynamics of the same species from two other colonies (San Jorge and Granito) in the Gulf of California, Mexico, for which demographic data are lacking. To do so, we developed a stochastic demographic age-structured matrix model and conducted a population viability analysis for each colony. For the Los Islotes colony we used site-specific pup, juvenile, and adult survival probabilities, as well as birth rates for older females. For the other colonies, we used site-specific pup and juvenile survival probabilities, but used surrogate data from Los Islotes for adult survival probabilities and birth rates. We assessed these models by comparing simulated retrospective population trajectories to observed population trends based on count data. The projected population trajectories approximated the observed trends when surrogate data were used for one colony but failed to match for a second colony. Our results indicate that species-specific and even region-specific surrogate data may lead to erroneous conservation decisions. These results highlight the importance of using population-specific demographic data in assessing extinction risk. When vital rates are not available and immediate management actions must be taken, in particular for imperiled species, we recommend the use of surrogate data only when the populations appear to have similar population trends.

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  • 2015-09-28

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Human Disturbance Influences Reproductive Success and Growth Rate in California Sea Lions (Zalophus Californianus)

Description

The environment is currently undergoing changes at both global (e.g., climate change) and local (e.g., tourism, pollution, habitat modification) scales that have the capacity to affect the viability of animal

The environment is currently undergoing changes at both global (e.g., climate change) and local (e.g., tourism, pollution, habitat modification) scales that have the capacity to affect the viability of animal and plant populations. Many of these changes, such as human disturbance, have an anthropogenic origin and therefore may be mitigated by management action. To do so requires an understanding of the impact of human activities and changing environmental conditions on population dynamics. We investigated the influence of human activity on important life history parameters (reproductive rate, and body condition, and growth rate of neonate pups) for California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) in the Gulf of California, Mexico. Increased human presence was associated with lower reproductive rates, which translated into reduced long-term population growth rates and suggested that human activities are a disturbance that could lead to population declines. We also observed higher body growth rates in pups with increased exposure to humans. Increased growth rates in pups may reflect a density dependent response to declining reproductive rates (e.g., decreased competition for resources). Our results highlight the potentially complex changes in life history parameters that may result from human disturbance, and their implication for population dynamics. We recommend careful monitoring of human activities in the Gulf of California and emphasize the importance of management strategies that explicitly consider the potential impact of human activities such as ecotourism on vertebrate populations.

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Date Created
  • 2011-03-16

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Coffee Agroecosystems: A Conservation Agreement-Based Approach to Protecting Biodiversity in San Martín, Peru

Description

In the Alto Mayo Protection Forest (AMPF) of San Martín, Peru, unsustainable farming practices in coffee agroecosystems are the main drivers of deforestation and habitat loss. Previous studies indicate that

In the Alto Mayo Protection Forest (AMPF) of San Martín, Peru, unsustainable farming practices in coffee agroecosystems are the main drivers of deforestation and habitat loss. Previous studies indicate that across Latin American coffee farms, using shade-grown coffee result in higher biodiversity on the farms with a larger abundance of floral and faunal species. In AMPF, conservation agreements have been implemented between cultivators and Conservation International to ameliorate the environmental damages incurred by poor farming practices, as well as to increase cultivator livelihoods. To measure the effectiveness of these agreements, we compared camera trap data to drone-captured shade cover data to find the correlation between higher shade cover and biodiversity among subscriber plots. While our results showed no interrelationship between shade cover and species abundance or richness, this study was a small subset of the larger study, representing only 15% of the total subscriber plots and 24% of the overall sectors. Therefore, we predict that the results of the larger study will be more conclusive and will better indicate the predicted positive relationship between biodiversity and agroecology in AMPF.

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  • 2019-05