38 BiodiversityBB - Biological Diversity Biodiversity...

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Biological Diversity Biodiversity Biodiversity is the totality and diversity of life at different levels of biological organization Biodiversity is the inevitable result of evolution • Start of life on earth: 3.5 bya • Species diversified from bacterium-like ancestor • Species described so far: 1.5 million • Actual number: 3-100 million? Biodiversity is unevenly distributed across the tree of life • Primates: 400 species • Coleoptera (e.g., beetles): 350,000 species • Most numerous groups: bacteria, fungi, orchids, mollusks, insects, spiders, crustaceans
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Species interact with each other and the environment in diverse ways Biodiversity is unevenly distributed across the earth What is the value of Biodiversity? • Intrinsic –Aesthetic –Religious –Leisure activites • Utilitarian –Bioactive chemicals –Ecological services –Ecosystem stability Intrinsic value of Biodiversity: Ancient conservation of Ginkgo biloba in the temples of Japan
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Utilitarian value-1 • Bioactive chemicals, e.g., pharmaceuticals • Microbes (bacteria, fungi), marine invertebrates, plants The diversity of plant products is a direct result of evolutionary and ecological diversification • Plant products used by humans specific to particular plants
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38 BiodiversityBB - Biological Diversity Biodiversity...

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