Biology: The Dynamic Science (Mind...

4th Edition
Peter J. Russell + 2 others
ISBN: 9781305389892



Biology: The Dynamic Science (Mind...

4th Edition
Peter J. Russell + 2 others
ISBN: 9781305389892
Textbook Problem

The accompanying Table compares statistics on imminent extinctions versus historical extinctions in five groups of organisms. The data are divided into three geographic categories. In which of the three habitat categories are extinctions accelerating the most? In which group of organisms are extinctions accelerating the most? What do these data suggest about where conservation biologists should focus their efforts if the goal is to preserve as many species as possible?

Distribution of Species Facing Imminent Extinction (i.e., Trigger Species) and Historically Extinct Species among Taxa and Islands, Mountains, and Low Mainland Areas

Islandsa Mountainsb Low mainlandc Total
Taxon Triggerspecies Extinct species Trigger species Extinctspecies Triggerspecies Extinctspecies Triggerspecies Extinctspecies
Mammals 80 49 35 5 16 19 131 73
Birds 128 121 51 1 38 7 217 129
Reptilesd 7 8 0 0 8 1 15 9
Amphibians 88 19 268 11 52 4 408 34
Conifers 9 0 12 0 2 0 23 0
Total 312 197 366 17 116 31 794 245

aIslands are landmasses smaller than greenland and include mountainous sections of islands.

bMountains are mountains on mainland landmasses (not on islands).

cLow mainland regions are low-lying regions of continental mainlands.

dReptiles include only turtles and tortoises, crocodilians, and iguanid lizards.

Source: T. H. Ricketts et al. 2005. Pinpointing and preventing imminent extinctions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 102:18497–18501.

Summary Introduction

To review:

The accelerating extinctions in the three geographic categories and in the group of organisms. The focus required by the conservation biologists on their efforts to preserve species.


The cessation of existence of an organism or a group of organisms is known as extinction. There are major threats that are responsible for the cause of threatened and endangered species in the biodiversity. The release of pollutants, acid precipitation, the introduction of invasive species in the new habitat, and the spread of disease due to disease-causing organisms can lead to devastating outcomes.


The data mentioned in the “Interpret the Data” section of the problems are to be referred in order to solve the problem. The last species of any member that dies due to any reason is known as extinction. The reason could be poor health, the introduction of pollution, disease, invasive species in the new habitat, unable to survive or reproduce, genetic pollution, or habitat degradation.

Island habitats are the one whose extinctions are accelerating the most in the three geographic categories...

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