By Cynthia Mills
January-March 2008 / Vol. 9 No. 1
- What has been the role of Nick Mooney in conservation of the Tasmanian devil? Is his work a role model for informed action on behalf of biodiversity? Is he like the “physician” mentioned in the last paragraph?
- What is a marsupial? Where do they live? What is convergent evolution?
- How is this case of infectious tumors a great example of the phenomenon of “inbreeding depression”?
- Do you think that this statement at the bottom of page 29 true?: “In the field of conservation biology…disease is a natural part of the ecology of a species. Populations suffer declines but not extinctions.”
- What is an “extinction vortex”?
Websites for Further Information
- Basic information on cancer biology
- Cancer in another species: the Beluga Whale
- UC Berkeley Website on Marsupial Mammals
Tasmanian Devils in the News
- Disease-free devil population grows (ABC News, February 28th, 2008): http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/02/29/2176228.htm
- International bid to save devils (BBC News, October 22nd, 2007):
- Hawkins, C.E., Baars, C., Hesterman, H., Hocking, G.J., Jones, M.E., Lazenby, B., Mann, D., Mooney, N., Pemberton, D., Pyecroft, S., Restani, M., Wiersma, J. 2006. Emerging disease and population decline of an island endemic, the Tasmanian devil Sarcophilus harrisii. Biological Conservation 131:307-324.
- Murgia, C., Pritchard, J., Kim, S., Fassati, A., Weiss, R. 2006. Clonal origin and evolution of a transmissable cancer. Cell: 126:477-487.
- Inbreeding depression
- Wildlife disease
- Translating knowledge into conservation action