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Biology3445 lec17 Community Disassembly

Community Disassembly ongoing process of non-random species loss

and declines

Global extinction total disappearance of a species

Local extinction disappearance of a species from part of its natural range
Extirpation extinction of a population NOT an entire species
Past extinctions are estimated from fossil records
Ecological Extinction reduction of a species to such low abundance that,
although it is still present in the community; it no longer interacts
significantly w/ other species

Extinction rates differ for diff groups

Marine inverts = new species every 2-20 years
Birds = estimated extinction rate ofone species every 83.3 years

Mass extinction sharp decrease in # of species on earth in short period of


5 major mass extinction events

Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction (65mya dinosaurs)
End Triassic Extinction (200mya)
Permian Triassic Extinction (250mya)
Late Devonian Extinction (364mya)
Ordovician-Silurian Extinction (440mya)

What Causes Extinctions?

Genetics and Demographics

Genetically: hybridisations
Demographically: birth rate < death rate
Role of Stochasticity
o Demographic stochasticity (small popns)
o Environmental stochasticity (catastrophic events)
o Genetic stochasticity (mutations/loss)
Allee effects
o Factors that cause a reduction in growth rate of small popns as
they decline (ex. Via reduced survival or reproductive success)

** Current extinction rate is up to 1000x higher than fossil record

** Projected future extinction rate is more than 10x higher than current
Sixth Mass Extinction on Earth
**assumed to be happening right now (caused by anthropogenic activity)
o Predation, Pollution, introduced species, climate change
Anthropocene Earths most recent geological time period
Atmospheric, geologic, hydrologic and biospheric evidence of human-
influenced alteration
What makes a species vulnerable to extinction?
- Small popn size
- Rare/having small range
- Synchronous populations
- Specialists (vs generalists)
- High trophic position
- Low reproductive output
- Large body size
- Area in which species is found

Extinction Threshold occurs when a marginal change causes a change in

probability of extinction from 0 1

Extinction Vortex

Extinction debt future extinctions that arise from a past event (i.e. the
living dead)
Co-extinction : loss of one species leads to loss of another and a chain of

Community Disassembly ongoing process of non-random species losses

and declines
Order in which species disappear from a community depends on:
o their vulnerability to specific stressors and
o on traits associated w/ inherent susceptibility to decline
community disassembly is NON-random process; but follows
disassembly rules:
1. Initial species loss
2. Driver of extinction/loss
3. Rate of disassembly
4. Environmental context/conditions
5. Chance events (stochasticity)
Principles that govern
order of species loss
Extinctions can disrupt vital ecological processes; lead to cascading
losses, ecosystem collapse and higher extinction rate overall