1 Mar 10

Adaptation:What do we need?

Most fields develop organically. A few people become interested in a common problem or idea, and gradually more and more people begin to play with ideas and approaches until the topic grows into a “discipline.” Generally there is no mandate to create a new field, rather individuals start working in an unilluminated corner of an existing field until suddenly one day there are a lot of people working in that corner and it’s taken on a life of its own. Conservation biology started this way. Conservation practitioners were just regular biologists and ecologists who started noticing that there were anthropogenic threats to the species or ecosystems they were studying. This began to worry them—either for moral reasons (“Oh this is not good for the planet”) or personal (“Oh this is not good for the future of my research”). Whatever the reason these scientists started thinking about how to ameliorate these threats and voilà, conservation biology was born.