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Biology LibreTexts

7.6: Summary

  • Page ID
    26797
    1. Many threats to biodiversity do not lead to immediate and/or direct mortality, but instead have sublethal impacts that compromise organisms’ fitness over time. Responses to these silent, insidious, and easily-overlooked threats are often delayed, especially when the negative effects are felt only years after exposure.
    2. Environmental pollution leaves ecosystems uninhabitable for native wildlife, and cause sickness and death in wildlife and people. Common causes of pollution include pesticides, heavy metals, plastic, fossil fuels, fertilisers, light, heat, and noise, leading to pollution of water, groundwater, air, and soil.
    3. Overharvesting is becoming an increasingly damaging threat to biodiversity because people have better access to previously unexploited areas and are adopting increasingly efficient methods for harvesting wildlife products. Persecution, which has its roots in human-wildlife conflict, is becoming an important threat because a growing human population is increasingly encroaching on the shrinking remaining natural habitats.
    4. Invasive species outcompete local species and change the structure and composition of their native ecosystems. Human activity is responsible for these invasions, by accidentally or deliberately moving wildlife to new regions of the world. Some invasive species require a great amount of effort and resources to manage.
    5. Disease transmission and spread increase when wildlife is confined to small areas and/or crowded conditions. Diseases may also be transmitted between wildlife, domesticated species, and even humans. Managing for diseases is also important in zoos and other ex situ facilities, because diseases spreading from one individual to another can prevent those individuals from being released into the wild.
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