UAE University researchers develop new conservation tool to limit wildlife mortality

A modeling tool that helps prevent a population decline and possible extinction: Dr. Oliver Manlik



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Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Mon 6 Jun 2022, 2:09 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Jun 2022, 2:19 PM

A research team at the UAE University (UAEU) has invented a new conservation tool that can limit the rate of wildlife mortality caused by humans.

This new conservation tool entitled, 'Sustainable Anthropogenic Mortality in Stochastic Environments' (SAMSE) was presented in an article published in the international journal ‘Conservation Biology”.

The tool developed by the (UAEU)- College of Science Biology Department international researchers can determine sustainable limits to human-caused mortality on wildlife.

The lead author, Dr. Oliver Manlik, Assistant Professor of Molecular Ecology at the UAEU said: “We wanted to come up with a modeling tool that allows us to determine the maximum number of animals that can be removed from a population without causing a population decline and possible extinction.”

The eminent causes of high mortality rate for wild animals are due to a wide range of human activities.

“There are already some population modeling tools available. However, for us it was important to devise a tool that also allows us to incorporate ‘stochastic’ factors - random chance events that affect wildlife populations, but which are often not accounted for in conventional approaches,” he said.

Professor. Khaled Amiri, Chairman of the Department of Biology at the UAEU said “The Department of Biology has made great strides in scientific research compared to previous years in the department’s history, represented in the quality and number of outstanding research.

“I would like to thank the efforts of the department’s affiliates who raised the level of research.”

Prof. Khaled Amiri indicated that the role of the department head is to provide the vision and lead by examples in addition providing an appropriate and stimulating environment for scientific research and education, away from bureaucracy and narrow-vision administration.

The faculty members must trust that the department head is the support that can be resorted to for moral and logistical support. The faculty members must also feel their importance in building the building block of scientific research, and they must participate in decision-making.

The head of the department should pay attention to changing the culture of scientific research and support them by carrying out basic research that has a great impact on the scientific community” he said.

The authors of the study have also specified a sustainable limit of wildlife mortality called, ‘SAMSE-limit’ – the maximum number of individuals that can be taken from a population without causing a population decline in a changing environment. “We wanted to come up with a modeling tool that allows us to determine the maximum number of animals that can be removed from a population without causing a population decline and possible extinction,” he said.

The influence of stochastic factors in population dynamics include environmental changes that can affect birth and death rates, stability and decline of a population. Prof. Bill Sherwin, Professor Emeritus at the University of New South Wales, Australia added, “Such unanticipated chance events are often ignored when assessing the impact of human-caused mortalities of wildlife, but our study shows that they are crucial for the conservation of wildlife.”

ismail@khaleejtimes.com


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