PROGRAM TITLE:	Predicting Species Responses
ACTIVITY STREAM:	Process Studies
SCIENCE ELEMENT:	Ecological Systems and Dynamics

SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION
NATIONAL ZOOLOGICAL PARK (NZP)

SCIENTIFIC MERIT:  Small populations are exceedingly vulnerable to the 
effects of global change.  The fundamental problem of species conservation is 
to understand why some species survive and others become extinct when 
faced with major environmental challenges such as loss, alteration, and 
fragmentation of habitat.  New tools in theoretical, molecular, cellular, 
organismal, and population biology, combined with field studies of target 
species, offer considerable promise for revealing the mechanisms controlling 
species extinction and survival.  Applying these techniques in both field and 
captive studies will enable us to document species responses, identify 
characteristics of susceptible populations, and better understand the 
relationships among population size, genetics, behavior, reproduction, and 
stress and disease.

Combining data from a broad range of studies on captive animals and long-
term monitoring of key species at field sites around the world will enable us 
to detect, document, and later predict evolutionary differences in the capacity 
of species to adapt to global change.  The full range of scientific expertise 
required for an effective attack on the problem of species survival has never 
been assembled within a single institution.  Augmenting the scientific 
disciplines represented at the National Zoological Park, adding depth in 
existing areas of strength such as behavior, genetics, reproduction, and 
veterinary medicine, and providing additional financial support for the 
completed team will enable us to achieve our goals.

STAKEHOLDERS:  The program strongly supports the objectives of the IGBP 
Core Programs GCTE and GCEC, in particular the focus of GCTE on the 
dynamics of ecosystems as a function of changes in their composition; 
changes in biological composition of species functional types and ecosystem 
structure; and impact on agriculture and forestry.  Close cooperation exists 
between the NZP scientists and the USFWS, NMFS, IUCN Survival Service 
Commission and various NGOs.

POLICY RELEVANCE:  The program contributes directly to the achievement 
of several high-priority milestones identified by the USGCRP, particularly 
under Ecological Systems and Dynamics under Dynamics of Growth and 
Decline:  Interannual correlations established between ecosystem processes 
and climatic variables; Influence of disturbance and dominant species 
identified; under Predicting Threshold Responses:  Concept of threshold 
response quantified for selected species and ecosystems; Spread of exotic 
species estimated.  We plan to complete initial multi-disciplinary studies on 
recovery biology of at least 10 species by FY95.  Synthesis of results in the form 
of testable hypotheses and publication will be done by FY97; and testing of 
hypotheses with additional case studies in subsequent years. 

PROGRAM CONTACTS:

SI SGCR Representative:	Ted A. Maxwell
		NASM MRC 315
		Smithsonian Institution
		Washington, D.C.  20560
		202 357 1424
		FAX:  202 786 2566
		Email: tmaxwell@ceps.nasm.edu
	

Bureau Representative:	Ben Beck
		NZP  MRC 551
		Smithsonian Institution
		Washington, D.C.  20560
		202 673 4871
		FAX:  202 673 4766