What is Biodiversity? - OE3 2012-2013

Biodiversity and Conservation
Created by Beckie Granatstein, B.A., BSc., MSc.
What is Biodiversity?
The variety of life on Earth at all its levels, from
genes to ecosystems AND the ecological and
evolutionary processes that determine and
sustain biodiversity
So many species yet to be discovered!
• About 1.5-1.75 million species have been
• Scientists estimate that there are between 1320 million species in total
The Importance of Biodiversity
• Intrinsic versus instrumental
Components of Biodiversity
• Genetic diversity
• Species diversity
• Ecosystem diversity
Diversity Within a Species
• Genetic Diversity
• The diversity within a specific population
• The diversity between populations
Diversity Between Species
• Species diversity
• The number of different species
• Species are diverse depending on their looks
morphology, biology, and phylogentics
• Measured by scientists by both richness and
Diversity on the Largest Scale
• Ecosystem Diversity
• Variations in ecosystems types across our
whole landscapes
• Tropical forests versus boreal forest versus
grassland versus oceans
Importance of Ecosystems
Purification of air and water
Detoxification and decomposition of wastes
Cycling of nutrients
Many others
Human Impacts and Biodiversity
• Humans are negatively affecting every
ecosystem in the world
• Introduce species, habitat destruction,
overexploitation and disruption of pathways
• The world has been in the Holocene epoch for
11,700 years, it has been characterized by
stable climate
• Geologist now believe human activity has
caused us to enter a new geological age.
What is conservation biology?
• The practice of analyzing and preserving
biological diversity
• “Conserve what is left”
Conservation biologists try to:
• Anticipate
• Prevent
• Minimize
Crisis Discipline
• Conservation biologists have to act before
knowing all the information
• To wait for more information usually means it
will be too late
Holistic Approach
• Involves many different disciplines of science
Keystone species
• Human activities are removing important
species from ecosystems causing them to
Methods used for Conservation
• Scientific Research
• Ex-Situ Methods versus In-Situ Methods
Case study
How can you help!
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Plant Native Species
Spread the word!
Work in the field
Become a Citizen Scientist
• http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/littonc/PDFs/480_ConservationBiologyI.pdf
• http://www.life.illinois.edu/ib/451/lect-syllabus.html
• http://freecourseware.uwc.ac.za/freecourseware/biodiversityconservation-biology/conservation-biology/1.-what-is-conservationbiology
• http://www.conbio.org/resources/education/faq.cfm
• http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13335683
• http://www.iucn.org/what/tpas/biodiversity/about/?gclid=CKaEh67_660C
• http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservation_biology
• http://marinebio.org/oceans/conservation/moyle/ch8.asp
• http://www.michaelsoule.com/resource_files/85/85_resource_file1.pdf
• http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Condor#Conservation