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Reintroducing captive bred species: a community ecological perspective
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Throughout history species has gone extinct due to anthropogenic activities. During the last century efforts have been done to reintroduce species back into the wild. Zoos that originally were created as amusement parks for people have today a new purpose; to keep and breed species in captivity for later reintroductions in the wild. However a relaxed environment such as a zoo leads to a general fitness decline of up to 40% per generation in captivity. The probability of a successful reintroduction of a species that has been bred in a zoo will be lower the longer time it has been kept in captivity. The reintroduction of a captive bred species can also cause secondary extinctions and other negative effects on the food-web. Both changes in the community caused by the loss of a species and changes in the species itself caused by captivity can be expected to affect the outcome of a reintroduction attempt. Using a modeling approach I here investigate how the reintroduction of a captive bred species (at three different trophic levels; basal, intermediate and top predator species) affects a food-web and what risks there are in reintroducing it. A Lokta-Volterra model with type II functional response is used. I investigate three scenarios: the reintroduction of a species with 0% change in its attributes, 40% change in its attributes and 75% change in its attributes. It was found that the most important factor for reintroduction success when reintroducing a species is whether it is a producer species (basal species) or a consumer species (intermediate and top predator species). The producer species were most sensitive to the changes in their attributes, whilst consumer species were more sensitive to change in the food-web (Euclidian distance). The producer species were found to cause most secondary extinctions in all scenarios, hence indicating that it is a bottom-up controlled food-web. The present study suggests that the success of a reintroduction attempt is affected both by the degree of changes in the food web caused by the initial loss of the species and the degree of change in the species itself caused by captivity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 27 p.
Keyword [en]
Captive breeding, species reintroductions, species interactions, food-web, secondary extinctions, Lokta-Volterra models.
National Category
Biological Sciences Other Biological Topics
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-69507ISRN: LITH-IFM-A-EX—11/2398-SEOAI: diva2:428203
Subject / course
Life Earth Science
Available from: 2011-07-01 Created: 2011-06-29 Last updated: 2011-07-01Bibliographically approved

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Svensson, Joakim
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Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology
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