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Unformatted text preview: 1 Biodiversity : Biodiversity : What Are We Trying to Conserve? Dr. Debbie Elliott-Fisk Reading: Chapter 4 in course reader Migratory Snow Geese at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Global biodiversity- we have about 2 million species we have described and we estimate that 10- 15 million (?) live on the planet Earth; the estimated 10-15 million species are grouped as follows: Bacteria 10,000 spp. Protista (unicellular) 600,000 spp. Plantae 320,00 spp. Fungi 1,500,000 spp. Animalia Invertebrates 9,500,000 spp . Vertebrates 55,000 spp. Fishes 26,000 spp. Amphibians 4,000 spp. Reptiles 6,000 spp. Birds 9,000 spp. Mammals 5,400 spp. Biodiversity of the United States : Over 200,000 species of fungi, plants and animals have been described. However, many species remain undescribed, and botanist Peter Raven estimates that over 700,000 species may occur in the U.S.A. Biodiversity of California : 5,047 plant spp., 51 amphibian spp., 84 reptile spp., 433 regularly occurring bird spp., 197 mammal spp., and 67 freshwater sh spp. = 5,879 spp. (plus then lower organisms, inverts, marine). CA ! s biodiversity is very high compared to most other states in the U.S.A. Denitions of Biodiversity : Biodiversity is a term used to describe the whole of biological diversity, i.e., all living things: plants, animals, and microorganisms, including all their interactions with each other and the environment. The term includes three levels of organization: 1. Ecosystem diversity- a geographically dened area with interacting microbes, plants and animals (all organisms), such as a large lake (Lake Baikal), tropical rainforest (Amazon Basin tropical forest), or certain islands (Hawaii, Galapagos), among other examples. Ecosystem protection is important in that if we protect the place or ecosystem, we protect all the species therein (note: this is a founding idea of our system of National Parks). Lake Baikal in Siberia is the world's deepest lake. It is 5,314 feet deep and home to over 1,500 species of animals (including freshwater corals and freshwater seals), with 80% of these species endemic. The nerpa freshwater seal The Amazon Rain Forest is 5.5 million square km in area, with more than 1/3 of all the species in the world living here! 1 out of every 5 birds also lives here. 2 The Hawaiian Islands as a group are about 30 million years old, and have a very high number of species derived from relatively few ancestral species. For example, over 1,700 species of native plants are found here, and over 10,000 species of native insects. But there are fewer mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and freshwater sh species - why?...
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- Fall '07