biodiversity - Biodiversity Lecture9 WhatisBiodiversity?

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Biodiversity Lecture 9
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What is Biodiversity? Biological diversity has several components Number of species present: Globally – number of different species present on Earth Locally – number of species in a given area Number of individuals of a given species Genetic variation within a species
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What is a Species? Basic unit of biological classification A population of organisms that can  successfully breed together and produce  fertile offspring How many are there?   Between 3 and 100 million – but that’s  just an estimate 1.7 million identified
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Extinction – Why Should We Care? Difficulty of predicting extinction effects – interconnectedness might lose thing we rely on Keystone species – important species for ecosystem eg – sea otters and sea urchins beavers and dams elephants and grasslands
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Diversity and Community Equilibrium Diversity also seems to be related to  ecosystem stability
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Extinction – Why Should We Care? Potential loss of useful resources: new food sources – 75,000 edible plant species yet we  rely on 30 for vast majority of food new genes for current crops – traditional plant varieties  and wild relatives important reservoir of genetic  variation new medicines – 40% of 150 most used drugs derived  from plants
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Extinction – Why Should We Care? Moral – what right do we have to cause extinctions? Do species have an inherent value or right to exist?
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Extinctions have been accelerating over past 400 years now several hundred times beyond historic levels Humans very strongly  implicated Natural factors likely 
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This note was uploaded on 10/16/2011 for the course GEOGRAPHY 211 taught by Professor Smith during the Spring '11 term at Rutgers.

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biodiversity - Biodiversity Lecture9 WhatisBiodiversity?

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