Environmental Science 1021F/G Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Ecosystem Diversity, Background Extinction Rate, Extinction Event

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Biodiversity
What is biodiversity?
Biologial diversity refers to the uer, variety ad variaility of Earth’s orgais; it
consists of three components
Genetic diversity: the level of genetic diversity of different species present in a given
ecological area
Ecosystem diversity: the number of different ecosystem types in a given area (region or
entire planet)
Why does biodiversity matter?
Biodiversity provides for three major benefits to humans:
o Genetic reserves & products:
nature acts as a reserve of countless genetic types
this diversity allows humans to access a variety of species capabilities for
themselves or other species to make them more resilient
o Ecosystem Services & indirect benefits:
a diverse ecological system operates in a fashion that many organisms
allow others to survive or flourish (even humans)
Healthy coastal ecosystems provide natural storm walls to water coming
in, and filtration for water going out from populated areas
o Intrinsic value:
As we have learned, valuation of the environment extends beyond what
humans want, and can include the rights and desires of other life forms
Biodiversity allows many life forms to exist
Endangered Species
Extinction
o Extinction occurs when the last living member of a species dies
o Extinction is irreversible (or is it?)
o Background extinction:
Refers to the continuous rate of extinction always ongoing in nature
o Mass extinction:
As instance in which many species go extinct at the same time as a result
of the same event/cause
o Elizabeth Kolbert the # species going extinct on a daily basis is on par with the
same numbers in the
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