Biodiversity & Extinction

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Biodiversity & Extinction

Biodiversity – the diversity ofspecies in a given area

Why Do We Need Organisms?Ecosystem Services – functions that organismswithin ecosystems provideWhat services do healthy ecosystems provide?

EstuariesNatural water purification system

Newport Back Bay

Bolsa Chica WetlandsTaken in 1981

Why Do We Need Organisms?FOOD!1/3 of human food crops pollinated by beesHoneybees pollinate 10 billion worth of foodcrops annually in the U.S.

Why Do We Need Organisms?Bumble bees & other insects provide 57 billion inpollination services as well as other free labor inthe U.S. aloneWithout insects as a food source, N. Americanfisheries would collapse because most freshwaterspecies subsist on insects. This means that thenearly 28-billion fishing industry relies oninsects at its base.

Why Do We Need Organisms?Why are predators important?Organisms keep other populations incheck!

Why Do We Need Organisms?Genetic DiversityWhat is more likely to happen ifpopulations have low genetic diversity?Ex. wheat, corn

Why Do We Need Organisms?Medicinal & Industrial UsesMarine organisms, plants, insects25 % of all prescription drugs containsubstances derived from plants.Biologists believe 90% of all insects have notyet been identified.

Why Do We Need Organisms?Medicinal & Industrial UsesMarine organisms, plants, insectsEx. MadagascarHas lost 80% of forests& 50% of native speciesWho knows which of thespecies disappearingcould provide newsources of food ormedicine?

Why Do We Need Organisms?

Why Do We Need Organisms?Aesthetics & Ethics

Why Do We Need Organisms?Many believe that ecosystems withgreater biodiversity are better able toprovide services.

ExtinctionWhen last individual member of a speciesdies & leads to complete loss of the speciesNatural process?Irreversible?

Extinction1. Background Extinction – continuous,low level extinction2. Mass Extinction – numerous speciesdisappeared during a short period ofgeological time

Extinction1. Background Extinction – continuous,low level extinction2. Mass Extinction – numerous speciesdisappeared during a short period ofgeological time3. Ecologically Extinct – species exists insuch low numbers that it is no longerable to perform its role in theecosystemWatch “The Sixth Extinction” to learn more about ourcurrent mass extinction.

What Causes Species Loss?Quick Changes!Ex. climate change, catastrophes,human impactsFor every 2000 species that have everlived, 1999 of them are extinct todayCurrent extinction rate 50 - 100 timesthe natural rate of extinctions

Causes Of Species Loss (Quick Changes)What activity is affecting the greatestnumber of species?

Causes Of Species Loss (Quick Changes)

Habitat LossGreatest threat to biodiversity!What activity causes the greatest habitatloss?Agricultural lands currently occupy 35%of the earth’s land

Habitat LossGreatest threat to biodiversity!Every year, humans destroy an area oftropical rain forest equal to the size ofWest Virginia

Habitat LossHabitat Fragmentation –when habitatsare broken up into areas that are toosmall to effectively support certainspecies

Causes Of Species Loss (Quick Changes)

Exotic Species –foreign species in anecosystem in which it did not evolve in

How Do Exotic Species Become Introduced?

How Do Exotic Species Become Introduced?

How Do Exotic Species Become Introduced?

Northern Snakehead

Zebra Mussel

Nile Perch

Caulerpa taxifolia

U.S. Exotic SpeciesHow many species have beenintroduced into the U.S.?At least 50,000!How much has it cost us? 130 billion!How many species are endangeredbecause of these species?30 % of E.S. listings are due in part toexotics

Why are exotic species so harmful?Are they Specialists or Generalists?

Causes Of Species Loss

Over-exploitation – purposefully takingspecies out of the system(for food, to eradicate ‘nuisance’ species,over-hunting, poaching)

Read the article “Counting the Last Fish”Check out this website help you make better seafood choices for a healthyocean. Get the Seafood Watch App!

Watch "The Sixth Extinction"to learn more about our current mass extinction. What Causes Species Loss? Quick Changes! Ex. climate change, catastrophes, human impacts For every 2000 species that have ever lived, 1999 of them are extinct today Current extinction rate 50 - 100 times

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