Neotropical Acuatic Ecosystems: Their Importance, Sustainable Use and Conservation
This course will examine why the Orinoco and Amazon basins in South America harbor a biological richness much larger than other river basins around the world. About 50% of all higher plant species of the world are included in these basins. Data on vertebrates showed that about 3,000 freshwater fish species, thousands of birds (migratory and local), and hundreds of amphibians, reptiles, and mammals have been found so far in those basins geographically included in six countries: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. We will examine the key factors that have affected their historical-geological development, the actual richness, and the threats to sustainable development and conservation. We will ask questions about the nature and interactions of the key factors and agents that harbor and transformed the high ichthyological and other aquatic biota diversity, reflected by the wide range of landscapes and aquatic ecosystems included in those basins. We will try to identify fragile aquatic ecosystems depending upon the biological richness, endemicity, importance for local communities, and potential threats. We will examine the current trends in the fisheries, forest exploitation, and agriculture for human consumption, noting that stocks of many species of fish are in steep decline, and that current fishing practices are not sustainable. Finally, the major impacts and threats faced by the fishes and aquatic ecosystems of the Orinoco River Basin are discussed with the purpose of studying potential plans for sustainable development. The course is presented in a reading/discussion format in which all readings, writings, and discussions will be in Spanish.
|Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Lecture / Discussion
|Grading Mode: Graded
|Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ENVS-MN)(ENVS)(LAST)
|Past Enrollment Probability: Less than 50%