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Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Biology


An Introduction to the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Biology


The greatest challenge to face mankind is upon us. We, as humans, have initiated one of the greatest episodes of mass extinction the world has ever seen. Given current estimates of extinction rates, by the year 2020 only 30-70% of all living species on earth will survive. Indeed, if we are to survive, not only is our way of living going to change drastically within our generation, but we also must take control now to better manage our natural resources, decrease current extinction rates, and so conserve a large portion of our biodiversity. We MUST do this immediately. It was to help address these critical issues that the ROM created the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Biology.

Originally created as a "Centre of Excellence" by the Board of Trustees of the Royal Ontario Museum on February 23, 1995, the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Biology served to facilitate a cross-disciplinary approach to research programs of Curatorial staff of the six ROM Life Science Departments: Botany; Entomology; Ichthyology & Herpetology; Invertebrate Zoology; Mammalogy; and Ornithology. This relationship was formalized on July 1, 1996, when the Museum restructured its Curatorial Division to meet the challenges of contemporary society and effectively communicate the results of research carried out by ROM Curators. Nineteen curatorial departments were amalgamated into six, with the new departmental groups reflecting common interests, research, and collections management orientations. Thus, the six former Life Sciences Departments were officially amalgamated to form the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Biology.

The Centre undertakes research programs in areas where the ROM has a particular strength in its collections or where Curatorial staff has a special expertise and leadership position for conducting research of international significance. Fragile ecosystems around the world are made up of very delicate interrelationships of plant and animal species. Plans for protection and preservation cannot be made without an in-depth understanding of these relationships, and how they evolve over time. A significant part of the Centre's research in this area includes collecting and recording the genetic make-up of certain species, tracking and projecting patterns of evolution, determining the interrelationship of species, and estimating risks of extinction. From this essential base of information, ROM scientists are able to advise on appropriate strategies for resource management and conservation programs.


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[small world gif] Conservation Biology
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Please send your comments or enquiries concerning the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Biology to Catherine Ayley cathya@rom.on.ca

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