Population biology - Lincoln University

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Biology in a changing world
Rob Cruickshank
Department of Ecology
Lincoln University
Biology careers
Plan A – Medicine
Plan B – Acarology, aerobiology, agriculture, anatomy, arachnology,
astrobiology, biochemistry, bioengineering, bioinformatics, biomathematics,
biomechanics, biomedical research, biophysics, biosecurity, biotechnology,
building biology, botany, cell biology, conservation biology, cryobiology,
developmental biology, ecology, embryology, entomology, environmental
biology, epidemiology, epigenetics, ethology, evolutionary biology, genetics,
haematology, herpetology, histology, ichthyology, integrative biology,
limnology, mammalogy, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biology,
mycology, neurobiology, oncology, ornithology, population biology,
paleontology, pathology, parasitology, pharmacology, physiology,
phytopathology, psychobiology, sociobiology, soil biology, structural biology,
synthetic biology, virology, zoology
The world is changing
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Population growth
Resource consumption
Globalisation and international trade
Climate change
Ocean acidification
Pollution
Rapid decline of biodiversity
Habitat loss and fragmentation
Invasive pests
Biology is changing
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Collaborative
Multi-disciplinary
New technology
Next generation DNA sequencing
Massive amounts of data
New analytical methods
Reproductive technologies
Genetic manipulation
Synthetic biology
Biology is changing
Keys to success in modern
biology
• Shift from specific knowledge to generic skills
• Shift from specialisation to multi-disciplinary collaboration and
synthesis of ideas
• Shift from particular technological approaches to strategies for
learning and adapting new techniques
• Ability to integrate knowledge from different areas
• Research skills, philosophy of science, how to make and record
observations, ask questions, construct testable hypotheses, design
experiments, analyse results, make inferences, communicate
findings, etc.
• Information literacy, finding and assessing the quality of
information, critical thinking, critical literacy
Keys to success in modern
biology
• Quantitative thinking, data management, computing,
maths, bioinformatics, statistics
• Visualisation, creative presentation of data,
dissemination of research outcomes, public outreach
• Collaboration, working as part of a team,
understanding, empathy, effective communication
• Cultural sensitivity, cross-cultural communication,
languages
• Entrepreneurship, commercialisation, business
knowledge, economics, policy
• Ethics, moral philosophy, social science
Keys to success in modern
biology
A high-level of academic achievement is not
necessarily as important as…
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Curiosity
Enthusiasm
Creativity
Logical reasoning
Practical ability
Persistence
The New Zealand curriculum
• Nature of science strand
• Integration of biology with other strands (e.g. maths
and statistics, technology, social science)
• NCEA achievement standards (biology matrix)…
2.1 – Carry out a practical investigation in a biological context,
with supervision
2.2 – Analyse the biological validity of information presented
to the public
3.1 - Carry out a practical investigation in a biological context,
with guidance
3.2 – Integrate biological knowledge to develop an informed
response to a socio-scientific issue
Careers in biology
• Biology + computing = bioinformatics
• Biology + social sciences = management,
policy making, politics, communication
• Biology + commerce = product development,
commercialisation
• Biology + languages = international
collaboration, economic development
• Biology + arts = data visualisation, landscape
ecology, biomimetics
An example
An example
Ecological restoration
experts
To restore area after
mining
Translocation experts
To identify new areas
suitable for
Population biology
introducing this
To predict effects of
species
interventions on
Communication experts
Taxonomists
population
Locals, mining company,
To identify prey taxa
government (local,
national), iwi,
Statisticians
conservation groups,
To analyse
How can we get the economic
volunteers, media
results
benefits of mining while preserving
this unique native species?
Ecologists
Molecular biologists
What are their ecological
Diet analysis, population
requirements in captivity
genetics
Lawyers
and restored habitat?
Legal
Captive breeding experts
Economists
implications
To preserve population
Economic costs and
until they can be returned
benefits of mining in this
to restored site
area, commercial
implications, etc.
An example
100%
Species 2
90%
Species 17
Species 18
80%
Percentage of amplicons
Species 16
Species 15
70%
Species 14
60%
Species 13
Species 12
50%
Species 11
Species 10
40%
Species 9 (M. felix)
30%
Species 8
Species 7 (O. kenleei)
20%
Species 6
Species 5
10%
Species 4
0%
Species 3 (E. forsteri)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46
Individual snails
Species 1 (D. gorgon)
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