Chapter 11 Study Questions

  1. It is sometimes stated that moving individuals among habitats to restore natural levels of genetic diversity is an interventionist strategy that should be avoided because we are “tinkering with evolution.” Discuss this issue.
  2. Some have argued that the Dusky Seaside Sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus nigrescens) was not genetically differentiated from Atlantic coast subspecies, and thus separate conservation efforts for the now extinct subspecies were not warranted, despite recognizable color differences among seaside sparrow subspecies. If this information had been known a few years earlier, when several duskies were still alive, should conservation efforts for the subspecies have been abandoned? Are there other reasonable criteria for protection that should take priority over genetics, or at least be considered as well?
  3. Let us continue with the extinct Dusky Seaside Sparrow. Would it have been a good idea to attempt hybridization of the last individuals of this subspecies with other subspecies in an effort to preserve some remnant of the gene pool? Is there a point at which we should abandon efforts to save the last remnants of a gene pool?
  4. Can zoos, hatcheries, and similar ex situ species sanctuaries harbor enough specimens to provide the genetic diversity their species need to survive until they can be reestablished in the wild?