Biodiversity & Invasive Species . Schedule. Biodiversity – An overview Invasive Species – Jigsaw Activity Video – World’s Deadliest Animals (Friday). Loss of Biodiversity.
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Schedule • Biodiversity – An overview • Invasive Species – Jigsaw Activity • Video – World’s Deadliest Animals (Friday)
Loss of Biodiversity • Biodiversity (short for biological diversity) refers to the great variety of life form on earth, from the smallest bacterium to the largest mammal or tree. • About 1.8 million different species have been identified on Earth (there are 1100 different species of fleas alone!) • Scientists estimate there may be as many as 3 million to 30 million species on Earth in total, most of them hidden in the endangered ecosystems of the tropical forests, coral reefs and tidal zones.
Biodiversity is often descried at three different levels: genetic diversity, species diversity and ecosystem diversity.
Genetic Diversity • This refers to all the varying genetic information (characteristics carried in the genes) that distinguishes varieties of the same species. • By combining the genetic materials in different varieties of grass and grains, humans have been able to produce many varieties of food crops.
Species Diversity • This describes the various kinds of life forms that appear in a particular area.
Ecosystem Diversity • This indicates the different habitats, environments or biological communities that appear in a given area. • Deserts, grasslands, ponds, coral reefs and tropical forests are examples of the great diversity of ecosystems in the world.
Why is Biodiversity Important? • Human beings have always depended on plants and animals for their survival, whether it be food, shelter or their livelihood. • Much of the world economy depends on making use of biodiversity. • What are some benefits here in Canada? • Economic benefits from the many different species of trees from forests.
Aside for humans, biodiversity is important to the Earth for many reasons: • The Greenhouse effect and the amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are all regulated by the diversity of plant life on earth. • Agricultural production would not be possible without many different species of insects and birds to pollinate crops. • The stability of ecosystems around the world would collapse without a diversity of species to maintain their richness.
How is Biodiversity Lost? • Human activities are causing an enormous decline in the number of plant and animal species on Earth. • More than one-third of Earth’s land surface has been altered by human activity. • Every year, more and more species are put under threat of extinction as humans move into formerly uninhabited areas of the planet and alter their ecosystems by converting them to farmland or factory sites. • Deforestation, desertification and introduction of new species are some examples of how biodiversity is lost.
The Jane Goodall Institute • It is dedicated to wildlife research, environmental education and the conservation and welfare of all species, specifically chimpanzees. • The institutes website offers regularly updated news features, background information on Jane Goodall’s work on the history of the institute, information on chimpanzees and instructions on how to join the institute. • www.janegoodall.org
Invasive Species • You will select one of the available articles and answer the following questions: • What is the invasive species described in your article? Where is it from and how was it introduced? • How does this invasive species threaten biodiversity? • What steps are being taken to prevent further damage or to fix the problem? • Get into a group with your peers and gather information about their invasive species. You should have completed your invasive species and have basic information on four (4) other species.