Chapter 3 Study Questions

  1. What issue in conservation biology ranks as the most urgent issue? What is the evidence to support your contention?
  2. The history of life has been punctuated by six episodes during which extinction rates were very high. If extinction is a normal process, and if life has diversified after each previous mass extinction, why should we be worried about the prospects of high extinction rates during the coming century? How does the current extinction spasm differ from previous ones?
  3. Suppose to your claim that the current episode of abrupt massive species extinction is immoral, someone replied, “Ninety-nine percent of all species that ever existed on Earth are now extinct, so why then, should we be concerned about rendering more of them extinct?” How would you respond?