What is “Biodiversity” and what does it do for YOU?

Have you ever wondered what biodiversity actually is? Does it even matter? I had no idea what biodiversity was until I took my first Introductory Biology course two years ago. Now it’s one of the hottest buzzwords floating around the scientific community. In this post I’ll give you the basics of what biodiversity is and why conserving it is crucial to our way of life.

Biodiversity, in it’s simplest form, is the variety of life on earth. From the smallest bacteria to plants to animals and even to whole ecosystems like coral reefs and forests. It’s the number of different species we have on this planet. And for biodiversity, the age old saying “more is always better” is definitely true.

NGS Picture Id:1914716Why is having more species diversity important? It’s been proven that ecosystems, like forests, coral reefs, etc., have more productivity when there are more species within it. By productivity I mean more useful services for us and the earth. For example, a forest with more plant species provides more variety in the types of crops we can eat. A coral reef with more species of fish provides a higher variety of food for us.

But so what? Yeah it gives us more fish to eat and options for which fruits and veggies we eat with it. But does that matter? Whether we realize it or not, we depend on these systems a lot more than we think. They provide TONS of FREE services for us besides variety in our meals.

  • Ecosystem services, such as                   Tree-CO2-O2-New-Zealand-Climate-Change-Project
    • Protection of water resources and soil
    • Pollution breakdown and absorption
    • Contribution to climate stability
    • Recovery from unpredictable events
  • Biological resources, such as                    herbalremedies.jpg
    • Food
    • Medicinal resources and pharmaceutical drugs
    • Pollination
    • Wood products
    • Diversity in genes, species and ecosystems
  • Social benefits, such as
    • Research, education and monitoring
    • Recreation and tourism

The list goes on but many of these are important to how we survive on this planet. A higher biodiversity makes all of these services to us possible so conserving it is undoubtedly important.  Stay tuned for my next blog post! I’ll diving into some of these services specifically and  how our climate is changing.

Sources: www.globalissues.org  wwf.panda.org

Picture sources:


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