What is biodiversity? • Bio = life • Diversity = differences among organisms • Biodiversity = the variety of living organisms found in an area • Where can you find biodiversity?
Biodiversity varies around the world: Do you see a pattern? • Number of species of mammals: • Canada – 163 • US – 367 • Mexico – 439 • In one hectare of forest you are likely to find: • Peru – 300 tree species • US – 30 tree species or less
Why is biodiversity important? • Organisms are adapted to live together! • Ecologists know many relationships – many have yet to be discovered • What could happen if lack of biodiversity leads to… • Loss of a major predator? • Breaking the relationship among symbiotic organisms?
What is meant by the phrase “Life depends on life?” • Animals need plants • Plants couldn’t exist without animals to pollinate • Plants need decomposers to break down nutrients • Living things create niches for other living things!
Importance to People • What does biodiversity offer to Humans? • Biodiversity gives humans: • Oxygen • Diverse diet • Materials (clothes, furniture, buildings) • Medicinal supplies (world pharmacy) • Penicillin cam from the mold Penicillium • Antimalarial drug came from the cinchona tree Preserving biodiversity ensures there will be living things to use in the future!
Threats to Biodiversity • Species are usually well adapted to their habitats… • What happens when these habitats are changed?
Threats to Biodiversity • Habitat loss • Habitat fragmentation • Habitat degradation • Water/Land pollution • Introduction of exotics
Habitat Loss • Habitat loss = removal/disappearance of habitat • Effect: organism are displaced (must go somewhere else) • Ex: • deer in your yard • bears in garbage
Habitat Fragmentation • Habitat fragmentation = obstruction (road, development, etc) that separates a habitat into sections • Example: Road through a forest prevents animals/plants from moving to other side
Habitat Fragmentation • Can cause problems with • Migration • “island effect” or – smaller less biodiversity • Invasion of exotic species • Lack of reintroduction after fires • Changes is climate • Edge effect
Habitat Fragmentation • Edge Effect= changes along ecosystem boundaries
Habitat Degradation: Pollution • Pollution can be air, water, or land • Examples: • Acid Precipitation • CFC’s in atmosphere
Introduction of Exotic/Invasive Species • Do not belong in habitat • Few/no predators in new habitat • Reproduce/spread out of control
Introduction of Exotic/Invasive Species • Woolly Aldegid
Introduction of Exotic/Invasive Species • Pythons in Everglades
Conservation of Biodiversity • Conservation biology = a new field that studies methods and implements plans to protect biodiversity • Effective strategies are based on ecological principles • Many species are threatened because of people, so working with humans is a major part of conservation biology
Legal Protection • US Endangered Species Act • CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species)
Habitat Preservation • What does it mean to be sustainable? • Sustainable use = using resources wisely – waste less • Habitat Corridors = connect pieces of land to overcome habitat fragmentation
Preservation • What does a reintroduction program try to do? • Example: California condors • What does a zoo/captivity aim to do? • What is a seed bank?
Preservation • Captivity – under human control • Reintroduction – putting species back in natural environment
What kinds of problems are there with reintroduction? • Animals may lose natural instinct • Loss of natural instincts is harder on animals than plants • What kinds of problems might plant reintroductions have?