TuataraL2 Conservation

This page provides supplementary information and links for Dr Rod Page's lectures on biodiversity for Level 2 Conservation (module 17b).

2003: Download handouts for lecture slides

Lecture 1 [PDF]

Lecture 2 [PDF]


Lecture 1: Measuring biodiversity

This lecture introduces the role of taxonomy in measuring biodiversity, in particular the discovery, description, and identification of species. It also discusses whether simply counting numbers of species is an adequate measure of biodiversity.

The "species-scape"

An imaginary landscape on whihc the size of organisms is proportional to the number of species in the group it represents. Note that the numbers of species in many cases is highly uncertain. The beetle (representing insects) is based on the 950,000 species described to date, whereas there may be in excess of ten million insect species (source: "Systematics Agenda 2000: Charting the biosphere").

Further Reading

Daugherty, C. H., A. Cree, et al. (1990). "Neglected taxonomy and continuing extinctions of tuatara (Sphenodon)." Nature 347: 177-179.

May, R. M. (1990). "Taxonomy as destiny." Nature 347: 129-130.

May, R. M. (1990). "How many species?" Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London 330: 293-304.


Lecture 2: Measuring biodiversity

This lecture covers measuring biodiversity on evolutionary trees, the principle of complemetarity in conservation, and the computer program WorldMap.

Internet Links for this lecture

WorldMap computer program to analyse geographical patterns in biodiversity. You can download a demonstration copy (requires Windows 95 or NT 4.0).

Further reading

Gaston, K. J., Ed. (1996). Biodiversity: a biology of numbers and difference. Oxford, Blackwell Science. (especially chapters 3 and 12)

Gaston, K. J. and T. M. Blackburn (1996). "The tropics as a museum of biological diversity: An analysis of the New World avifauna." Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 263: 63-8.

Williams, P. H., K. J. Gaston, et al. (1997). "Mapping biodiversity value worldwide: combining higher-taxon richness from different groups." Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 264: 141-148.

Woinarski, J. C. Z., O. Price, et al. (1996). "Application of a taxon priority system for conservation planning by selecting areas which are most distinct from environments already reserved." Biological Conservation 76: 147-159.


Biodiversity Internet Resources

The following are some useful biodiversity links.

The Tree of Life is a phylogenetic guide to all living things.
Discussion paper on biodiversity and its value.
World Conservation Monitoring Centre
World Conservation Union
The Natural History Museum
All-species.org