I need help.......

Kondla, Norbert FOR:EX Norbert.Kondla at gems3.gov.bc.ca
Mon May 15 13:14:21 EDT 2000

Might as well poke my proboscis into this interesting thread.  1. Did
somebody actually promote unregulated releases? I cannot remember such a
thing. 2. Regulation of human activity falls outside the realm of science.
This is normally done through social process (or by a dictator) and the
resulting decision codified under the rule of law.  Some of the information
that goes into such decision making emanates from various sciences; heck,
the social, political and behavioral scientists might even quibble with me
and view social choice as a science; but if they did so then we should
ensure that there is never any change in society and human behaviour so that
the scientists will not have their studies marred. 3. Every organism that
lives in metapopulations (and even those that do not) and which has
encountered human activity has been impacted to a greater or lesser degree.
Do painted ladies and monarchs fit any of the concept models for
metapopulations ?? 4. Good question re infectious diseases in butterflies.
Can anyone provide any information/research citations on this topic ??? I
have not seen any information that would cause me to conclude that this is a
"big problem"; maybe there is such information somewhere.  At this time I
can only view this as an "interesting consideration". 5. We will destroy
most of the natural world (some would argue we already have) before we
understand the roles of "various forms of DNA" in the multitude of organisms
we share the world with.  Paralysis by analysis, philosophical navel-gazing
and endless statistically valid studies is a favorite tactic which appears
on page 46 of my copy of the "Saboteurs Handbook" :-)

-----Original Message-----
From: Patrick Foley [mailto:patfoley at csus.edu]
Sent: Monday, May 15, 2000 9:06 AM
To: Bruce Walsh
Cc: cherubini; leps-l
Subject: Re: I need help.......

Bruce and other leppers,

Here is my short list of problems to solve before accepting scientifically
unregulated butterfly release.

1)  Let us first decide how many species we are willing to open to release.
species that is released is a species harder to study scientifically with
to phylogeography (John Avise's term for phylogenetic-geographic studies
the species or in the process of speciation). Pro-releasers often state that
releases are of monarchs and painted ladies, so this issue is small.
into those species might not agree. The evolution of painted lady species
the world could be a great future revelation that I hate to give up. Several
monarch researchers are already in print against unregulated release. But a
could be made that scientific research should not reserve all butterfly
for themselves. Where are releasers willing to draw the line? How many
Which ones?
    If we can get past this problem, we reach the threat to the species or
subspecies themselves. Here are some poorly solved problems that need better
solutions before I could be happy with unregulated releases of butterflies.

2) How important is the natural metapopulation structure of the species for
future evolution? Sewall Wright argued, and such researchers as Ernst Mayr,
Stephen Jay Gould and Alan Templeton, agree that local, semi-isolated to
populations are critical to the production of new adaptive types because
genetic drift is easily overwhelmed by even a little migration for neutral
alleles. However, strongly selected alleles should not mind a little
Moreover Barton, Coyne and Turelli argue that Wright's shifting balance
and related speciational processes are not as important as local selection
in the
production of new types. The point here is that it is scientifically
controversial whether isolation is critical to future evolution.

3) What is the geographic distribution of infectious diseases in butterflies
how critical is isolation to avoid endemic (enzootic if you must) and
outbreak dangers? This is such a big problem, I will just let it sit there
sunning itself.

4) What roles do various forms of (loosely-defined) selfish DNA play in
species? Included here are any forms of DNA that might spread to the
detriment of
most of the genome, e. g. transposons, sexually selected runaway traits.

    Bruce is probably right to argue that a little unregulated release is
safe for a species, and in fact can add to the useful genes subject to local
selection. But the four issues raised above are not just quibbles, they go
to the
heart of our ignorance and our hopes to overcome it before we destroy most
of the
natural world on Earth. Perhaps, in view of our ignorance and past errors in
release of diseases and pests, some humility is warranted.

Bruce Walsh wrote:

> Pat writes:
> l > > 2) Bruce seems to assume that the burden of proof
> > > should lie with on the anti-releasers. This is point of view would
> not be held by
> > > anyone working in biological control.
> There are two issues here.  First, I fully agree that NONNATIVE species
> should not be introduced (released) without the appropriate studies.
> Perhaps I did not make this point clearly.
> However, my comments on releases is that I know of no evidence as to why
> NATIVE species should not be released, especially if there are members of
> the same panmixtic breeding population.  Certainly painted ladies fall
> into this category, and the evidence also strongly suggests that monarch
> as well.
> In this later category, the concern seems to be just what the "burden of
> proof" is.  Clearly, introducing a non-native species can disturb an
> ecosystem--- there are LOTS of examples of this.  However, are there
> where low-level introduction of a species already present (albeit perhaps
> from a slightly different population) has been shown to cause problems?
> The population-genetic arguments of eroding the gene pool are incorrect
> simply reflect a poor understanding of the field.   Hence, I think that
> the anti-releases should suggest what protocol needs to be satisfied for
> release.  This is certainly sensible, as otherwise the fear would be that
> after spending (say) $50,000 on a bunch of studies discounting a set of
> concerns, the anti-releases will them simply add new items to the list.
> can go on forever.
> Hence, a reasonable approach would be to detail just what the concerns
> are, and what studies would reduce these concerns.  Again, the backdrop
> this is that there must be either reasonable theoretical and/or empirical
> evidence for the concerns.  I think this sets up the framework for a
> reasoned discussion where the concerns of both sides can be addressed.
> Peace
> Bruce

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