ENVR 1401 Conservation Biology and Management of Protected Areas

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ENVR 1401 Conservation Biology and Management of Protected Areas

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The purpose of this lab is to introduce you to concepts surrounding conservation biology and how we manage protected areas for long-term sustainability. In order to do this, you will learn about one specific protected area, Gorongosa National Park, which is located in Mozambique, Africa. After exploring the history of the park, you will participate in an ongoing citizen science project, using live trail cameras to track and monitor wildlife activities in the park.


Part I History of Gorongosa National Park



About This Section

This section complements the Click and Learn ‘‘Gorongosa Timeline’’ (http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/gorongosa-timeline) developed in conjunction with the short film The Guide: A Biologist in Gorongosa(http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/the-guide-a-biologist-in-gorongosa)




Use the Gorongosa Timeline Click and Learn to fill in the blanks in the table and answer the questions that follow. Questions 1 and 2 may require you to do some research or to go to the Gorongosa National Park Interactive Map (http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/gorongosa-national-park-interactive-map).To fill in the table, go to the timeline entries that correspond to the time, entry headline, or content specified in each row. Once the table is complete, answer the free-response questions that follow.



How To Use The Timeline

You can customize how stories are viewed by clicking on the buttons in the bottom right and left corners of the Click and Learn. The 2D/3D button on the left lets you toggle between two- and three-dimensional views of the timeline; the tool button on the right opens a window where you can filter events by category, change how categories are displayed, and zoom in or out. Use the search function to find specific events using relevant keywords or phrases. To read more about an event, click on the image (3D view) or the ‘‘More’’ button in the bottom right corner of the entry (2D view).


  1. OnwhichcontinentdoyoufindGorongosaNationalPark?



  1. InwhichcountrydoyoufindGorongosaNationalPark?





300,000 BC Earliest Evidence of Humans People lived in Gorongosa 300,000 years ago.
922−1100 Bantu Settlers  
1500 Portuguese Colonization  
    The Gorongosa Reserve is expanded to protect antelopes and rhinos.
1966 Park Reduction  
    Scientists counted animals from airplanes. They counted elephants,        lions,          buffalo,                      wildebeest,
  __zebras,        waterbuck,    impalas,and                hippos.
1976     _elephants and_____    lions are counted in  the park.
  War of Destabilization  
1993−1996   Asfew as           elephants,         reedbucks, waterbucks,and                       zebrasand
antelopes  are counted.
  Rebuilding the Park  
    The Gorongosa Restoration Project starts.
    Animals begin to be reintroduced to Gorongosa.
  Wildlife Numbers on the Rise Again!  
April 2013    
    The park is now home to 7 new zebras and 35 elands.
  Latest Wildlife Survey                   buffalos,hippos,                         waterbucks,

                  wildebeest,              antelope,           hartebeest,

                  zebras,and                             lions arecounted.


  1. The data in the 1994 graph entitled ‘‘Rebuilding the Park’’ presents information about the changing populations of animals in Gorongosa. The ‘‘Ongoing Challenges’’ graph from2014 presents the changing population data for humans within the park. Describe the relationship between the two graphs and offer an explanation for thisrelationship.









  1. Explore the section called ‘‘War of Destabilization’’(1977—1992).


  • Identifytwospecifichumanactivitiesduetothecivil warinMozambiquethatresultedinaloss of biodiversity.
  1. II.


  • Explain how each activity lowered the biodiversity in Gorongosa NationalPark.







  1. For each of the two human activities above, describe two strategies that were used to reduce the loss of biodiversity in thepark.






  1. O. Wilson has played a prominent role in improving biodiversity within the park, and the biodiversity lab at Gorongosa National Park is named after him. Learn more about E. O. Wilson’s role in improving biodiversity within Gorongosa National Park by clicking on the ‘‘Edward O. Wilson Biodiversity Lab’’ link located under conservation tab. Outline the goals of the program in the spacebelow.





  1. Read the 2010 entry ‘‘Mount Gorongosa Protected’’ and explore the associated link.


  • Explain the human activity that has changed how water flows on Mount Gorongosa.




  • Explain what is being done to alleviate theproblem.






  1. Explore the section called ‘‘Future Plans’’ (2014).


  • Describe the role of wildlife corridors in preserving and increasing biodiversity in fragmentedhabitats.





  1. Describe two ecological benefits of having greater biodiversity in an ecosystem.







  1. Taking into account that the poor are said to be both victims and causes of environmental degradation, identify and describe the challenges that Gorongosa will continue to grapple with as it transitions into becoming ‘‘the most diverse park in the’’





Part II WildcamGorongosa: Take Part in Citizen Science



Researchers in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique use remote trail cameras to study the different     animal species in the park. These cameras are equipped with motion sensors and snap photos when an animal moves in front of them. Researchers can then look at the photos to see how many different animals are in different parts of the park, how many are young animals, how the animals interact, and make  otherobservations.

To aid researchers in this effort, the photos have been posted on WildCamGorongosa, an online citizen   science platform that allows any visitor to see and identify the animals. In this activity, you will set up an account with WildCamGorongosaand learn how to use the platform. You will identify your first 10  animals   to contribute to the park’s research. You will then focus on one particular photoand make more detailed observations.



Use the WildcamGorongosa Instruction sheet provided by your lab instructor to signup and begin using the Wildcam trail camera.



  1. Now it’s time to identify your first photo. Remember you can narrow down the possibilities by clicking each of the characteristics across the top of the species list and selecting the option that most closely describes what you see in the photo. When you think you know what the animal is, click the “View Field Guide” button to learn more about the


  1. After you have entered the information about the animals in the photo, click “Identify”, then click“Done”.


  • Click the “Discuss on Talk” button and leave a message for the WildCam community about the  animal that you just identified. If you have any questions about the photo or notice something interesting, this is where you can start a


  1. Sometimes the cameras take photos of people and their vehicles as they pass by, or fires that sweep through an area. In these cases, select “human” or “fire” at the bottom of the screen. Other times, there is no animal in the photo because a blade of grass blowing in the wind triggered the camera. In this case, select “nothing here”.




  1. Click on the “Next Image” button to move on to the next photo. Identify a total of 10 photos. Explore the field guide entry for each new species you find and discuss at least one of the photos on the Talk forum. Fill in the table below identifying and describing the animals from the trail camphotos.


Trail camera photo What did you identify? Time of day? Notes or observed behaviors


For the question below, you will focus on a single trail camera photo, which provides a snapshot in time in   the Gorongosa ecosystem. You will make observations about this photo and formulate questions for further study.



Log in to WildCam at http://www.wildcamgorongosa.org/#/classify. If the first photo that appears has ananimal in it, this will be the image you will study. If the image doesn’t include an animal, select  “nothing   here” and advance to the next photo until you see one with an animal in it. Write down as  many observations  as you can about the photo on the screen. Be a detailed observer and make sure to look at the animals, their behaviors, and theenvironment.


  1. Write down as many observations as you can about this










  1. After you are finished making observations, write down some questions that you now have based on yourobservations.WhatwouldyouliketolearnmoreaboutasanecologistinGorongosa?










Part III WildcamGorongosa: Making Observations- Tracking Lion Recovery



This worksheet complements the short video “Tracking Lion Recovery in Gorongosa National Park” from the Scientists at Work series






  1. Prior to watching the film, read the questions
  2. Watch the film.(http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/tracking-lion-recovery-gorongosa-national-park)
  3. If working with a partner or in a small group, discuss and answer the questions below. If working alone, think about and answer the questions





  1. Technology has changed the way scientists conduct their research. Provide two pieces of evidence from the film to support this claim: “Technology is crucial for lion research in Gorongosa NationalPark.”








  1. Celina and Domingas, the two research assistants in the film, are from Mozambique, the country where Gorongosa National Park is For global restoration and conservation initiatives, list two reasons why it is important for the park to employ local people.


15.  On the next page is an example of a food web that includes lions (Figure 1). Use the food web and any information from the film to answer the following  questions:

  1. On average, 10% of the energy from one trophic level is available to the next level. Approximately what percentage of energy is available to the lions (tertiary consumers) in the ecosystem represented in Figure 1 (assuming the primary producer level represents 100% of the energy)? Show your work to justify your






  1. Use scientific reasoning and the food web to explain why, in general, it makes sense that the lion population is taking longer to recover than the herbivore populations.









Figure 1. A food web in Gorongosa National   Park.




  • Read the following information about how researchers use whisker spots to identify individual lions. You can also consult the lion identification guide on your labdesk.


Figure 2. How researchers use whisker spot patterns to identify    lions.


Use this information to draw the reference row and identification spots for the lion below, which was in the video. Write a description of the identification spots in relation to the reference row.














17.  The lion researchers in the film have studied 20% of the park and identified 41 lions. (Show your  work/justify your answer for each section.)


  1. The entire Gorongosa park is 4,000 km2. Approximately how large (in km2) is the portion of the park that has been studied?



  1. What is the density of lions (in lions/km2) in the portion of the park that has been studied?



  1. Assuming that the density of lions is the same throughout the entire park, about how many lions are there total in Gorongosa National  Park?




  1. The 20% of the park that has been studied has roads, so it is accessible by Based on this information, do you think it is more likely that your estimate from part (c) is too high or too low? Explain your  answer.





  1. Researchers have discovered that the pride’s territory defended by a male lion can extend 330 km2. Explain how the scientists used GPS collars, satellites, andcomputers to determine the size and geographic distribution (shape) of a lion pride’sterritory.






  1. If you joined the research team shown in the film, what new scientific question would you like to try to answer? Demonstrate your understanding of Biodiversity and Population Dynamics (4pts).














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