“One Hundred Questions of Importance to the Conservation of Global Biological Diversity”

Navjot Sodhi, one the of the authors of this paper, just sent me this link – it is an early view of the pdf which will eventually be free access: Sutherland et al., 2009. One hundred questions of importance to the conservation of global biological diversity. Conservation Biology.

Abstract – We identified 100 scientific questions that, if answered, would have the greatest impact on conservation practice and policy. Representatives from 21 international organizations, regional sections and working groups of the Society for Conservation Biology, and 12 academics, from all continents except Antarctica, compiled 2291 questions of relevance to conservation of biological diversity worldwide. The questions were gathered from 761 individuals through workshops, email requests, and discussions. Voting by email to short-list questions, followed by a 2-day workshop, was used to derive the final list of 100 questions. Most of the final questions were derived through a process of modification and combination as the workshop progressed. The questions are divided into 12 sections: ecosystem functions and services, climate change, technological change, protected areas, ecosystem management and restoration, terrestrial ecosystems, marine ecosystems, freshwater ecosystems, species management, organizational systems and processes, societal context and change, and impacts of conservation interventions. We anticipate that these questions will help identify new directions for researchers and assist funders in directing funds.

“For conservation science to overcome the research implementation gap and deliver effective on-the-ground management, however, the research must be inspired by and useful to the user (Salafsky et al. 2002; van Kerkhoff & Lebel 2006). This will require collaboration between researchers and practitioners throughout the long and often messy process of research, strategy development, and implementation (Sayer & Campbell 2004; Cowling
et al. 2008).

We believe that our process can be usefully repeated by a range of countries and organizations and can be focused on specific ecosystem types, conservation issues, or taxonomic groups to clarify research requirements and direction.”

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Laura’s thesis work featured on “Not Exactly Rocket Science”

Ed Yong of “Not Exactly Rocket Science” features Laura’s (Spider Lab) recently published thesis work in an article entitled, “Singaporean spiders spit venomous glue, work together, eat each other” (24 Apr 2009).

“In the forests of Singapore lives a spider that must be an arachnophobe’s worst nightmare. Most species are solitary hunters subdue their prey with venomous fangs, sticky silken webs or a combination of the two. But Scytodes uses a third trick – it spits a sticky, venomous fluid from its fangs that both traps its victims and poisons them (see video of related species). And it does this in packs – after hatching, spiderlings spend their early lives on their home web and they spit at, bite and devour prey en masse.

There are actually about 200 species of spitting spiders belonging to the genus Scytodes, and the specific species I’m talking about here was previously classified as Scytodes pallida. But Laura Yap, a student from the National University of Singapore, believes that it may be a new species entirely. For the moment, she refers to it simply as “Scytodes sp”, and she has provided the first thorough description of its behaviour.”

Read the rest of article….

The paper that the article reviews is Yap, L.-M. Y. L. & D. Li, 2009. Social behaviour of spitting spiders (Araneae: Scytodidae) from Singapore. Journal of Zoology, 278 (1): 74 – 81. [Published Online: 3 Mar 2009; doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.2009.00555.x]

Thanks to Ria Tan for the alert!

Finally, a second year biodiversity module!

This has been in the works for some time and we finally received the wonderful news – The Board of Undergraduate Studies has approved two modules that were recently submitted.

So we FINALLY have a second year biodiversity module in the form of “LSM2251 Ecology and Environment”.

The second module that was also approved is “LSM4264 Freshwater Biology”.

To the biodiversity students of past years who were unable to take such modules, I can only say we sympathise with you. Some of you were involved in feedback to the university at various levels that helped set this up so thank you for your efforts for your juniors!

Sodhi et al on “The state and conservation of Southeast Asian biodiversity”

Sodhi, N. S., M. R. C. Posa, T. M. Lee, D. Bickford, L. P. Koh & B. W. Brook, 2009. The state and conservation of Southeast Asian biodiversity. Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation, DOI: 10.1007/s10531-009-9607-5 [Published online: 4 March 2009]

Abstract – Southeast Asia is a region of conservation concern due to heavy losses of its native habitats. In this overview, we highlight the conservation importance of Southeast Asia by comparing its degree of species endemism and endangerment, and its rate of deforestation with other tropical regions (i.e., Meso-America, South America, and Sub-Saharan Africa). Southeast Asia contains the highest mean proportion of country-endemic bird (9%) and mammal species (11%).

This region also has the highest proportion of threatened vascular plant, reptile, bird, and mammal species. Furthermore, not only is Southeast Asia’s annual deforestation rate the highest in the tropics, but it has also increased between the periods 1990–2000 and 2000–2005. This could result in projected losses of 13–85% of biodiversity in the region by 2100. Secondary habitat restoration, at least in certain countries, would allow for some amelioration of biodiversity loss and thus potentially lower the currently predicted extinction rates. Nonetheless, urgent conservation actions are needed. Conservation initiatives should include public education, sustaining livelihoods, and ways to enhance the sustainability of agriculture and increase the capacity.”

Richard Corlett on “Invasive aliens on tropical East Asian islands”

Corlett, R. T., 2009. Invasive aliens on tropical East Asian islands. Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation. DOI 10.1007/s10531-009-9624-4 [Published online: 31 March 2009]

“Tropical East Asia (TEA) has numerous islands, both continental and oceanic. This study uses information on invasive aliens in terrestrial habitats on these islands to test the generality of the continental-oceanic contrast in invasibility, assess the conservation impacts of invasive species, and suggest ways to mitigate these. The continental islands of Hong Kong and Singapore are worst-case scenarios for continental invasibility and alien species often dominate in chronically disturbed sites, but very few have successfully invaded closed forests, with the exception of birds in Hong Kong. On other, less densely populated, continental islands, closed-canopy forests appear to resist invasions by all taxa, with few known exceptions.

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