Biodiversity preserves three ecological systems:

  1. Genetic Diversity: the measure of the variety of different versions of the _______ genes with individual species
  2. Species diversity: the number of different kinds of ________ (richness) that inhabit a certain area.
  3. __________ diversity: the richness and __________ of a biological community

Only 1.4 __________ species are known- a fraction of the total no doubt. 10- 100 million total?

The Diversity of the Deep Ocean

Evolution of Humans Within the Tree of Life


How do we benefit from Biodiversity?

Ecosystem Services- The important benefits to humans for living in a healthy, functioning environment. Include moderate weather extremes, mitigate floods, coastal wave erosion protection, detoxify wastes, climate stability, purify the air, pollinate crops and the following:

  1. Food- 80,000 _______ are edible to humans
  2. Drugs and ___________- more than half of _______________ drugs come from ________ products. ex. Madagascar periwinkle and Pacific yew inhibits cancer growth! Asprin came from willow bark, echinacea is a natural immune system booster as is garlic (poor man's penicillin), clove oil good for gum infection.
  3. Ecological Benefits- ________ formation, waste disposal, air and water purification, oxygen source, ______________, disease control, nutrient cycling, etc. ______% of pests are controlled by other species that prey on them- better than chemicals! ex. Parasitic wasp
  4. Aesthetic and Cultural Benefits- nature as "church" for spiritual empowerment. Provides __________ __________ and rejuvenation. Ecotourism is growing quickly.


Loss of Biodiversity:

  • 1. Biological Extinction: the elimination of a species forever.
    • ________ % of all species that have ever existed are now extinct! Wow!
    • ex. Dodo, Woolly mammoth, Sabertooth Tiger, Giant Ground Sloth, Passenger Pidgeon
    • _________ Causes of Extinction: in an undisturbed ecosystem is 10-100 every year (or 1 species per million species/year
    • Early Mass Extinctions:
      • Dinosaurs were wiped out during our last mass extinction during the __________ period 65 million years ago
      • 75 to ____% of all species died at the end of the __________ period 240 million years ago) Caused by climate changes, perhaps triggered when large _________ struck the earth.
      • Takes ___ - ____ million years to restore biodiversity after a mass extinction.
    • 6th Mass Extinction:
      • Caused by mankind.
      • Now we are losing species at __________ of times the natural background rate of extinction (40 to 250 species/day). This is the first mass extinction that includes _______.
      • 1/3 to __/3 of all current species could go extinct by the MIDDLE of this century. :( That is a loss of a lot of ecosystem services.
  • 2. Ecological Extinction: when too few of one species are left to perform their ecological function. ex. wolves and subsequent deer population.
      • Made worse with Global Warming/Climate change
  • 3. Economic or Commercial Extinction: Over harvesting (hunting and fishing) is responsible for depletion or extinction of many species.
      1. Killed for sport/food- ex. passenger pigeon: 3 to 5 ________ birds lived 200 years ago! _____ fishery collapse off of George's bank. 85 million tons of fish and marine invertebrates caught/year. Advancement in fishing technology is the culprit- sonar, drift nets, ____ - _______-mile long baited hook lines, bottom trawling and suction devices.
      2. Killed for commercial value- ex. rhino horns and tiger genitals soup ($_____/ bowl). Wildlife trade most lucrative form of international crime behind drugs and ____ smuggling.
      3. Killed for control of predation of _________- ex. coyotes and _________.

HIPPO- Habitat Loss, Invasive Species, Pollution, Population growth (human), Overharvesting (Overuse)


Invasive (Introduced) Species Introduction

  • Invasive organisms are exotic aliens introduced into habitats where they are not ________ and take over the environment. (Not all exotic plants are space hogs- think tomato plants). Invasive plants are one of the greatest threats to native biodiversity.
  • There are now more than _________ alien species in the United States, ______________ are considered to be invasive.

Why are they so successful?

  • They have no natural ________ in their new home
  • Food source was underutilized (until they came)
  • Produce many, many, many _______


  1. 10' long Brown tree snake in Guam.
  2. Snakehead fish- walks on land!
  3. Water Chestnut- devil's heads are viable up to 12 years!
  4. Zebra Mussels- covers everything
  5. Cane toad! Nothing can stop their 17 cubic mile spread/day!
  6. Kudzu vine- you can almost see it grow
  7. Asian Carp- jumps right into your boat!


Endangered Species

Endangered: considered in __________ danger of extinction

    • manatee, bison, blue whale, elephant, tiger, panther, snow leopard

Successful Comebacks:

Minimum Viable Populations: the least number of individuals needed to maintain a healthy population. _______ numbers of surviving species are more vulnerable to extinction.

Captive Breeding: Zoo breeding esp. artificial ____________ can reintroduce endangered species back into the wild. Takes a LOT of effort. ex. Peregrine falcon. Saving species in the wild is more economical.


Wildlife Treaties

The ___________ Species Act- ESA of 1973 prohibits the killing of a endangered species (regardless of their use to humans).

Convention on _________ Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

  • Prohibits the international trade of ____________ species as live specimens, wildlife products, dried herbarium samples. ex. Orchids

E.O. Wilson and the Encyclopedia of Life

Secret Life of Plankton

Glow in the dark sharks and stunning sea creatures

Evolution of Lizards