|Perfect Number of Pages to Order||5-10 Pages|
Environmental Deterioration & Biodiversity Ecosystem Services
If you watch or read the news, you would think that biodiversity issues are primarily about pandas, tigers, elephants, whales, polar bears, and other large animals. These are the flagship species biodiversity, or species that you are likely to identify and care about, as defined by conservation biologists. Tropical rainforests and coral reefs are the two most
well-known habitats. Biodiversity is always one of the primary categories, regardless of how the earth is divided up in terms of what is vital from a sustainability standpoint. To the typical individual, this is probably perplexing, as they question why scientists are so concerned about the species’ future. After all, if they only exist in zoos, will the world
really be in danger? Scientists’ biodiversity concerns are focused on the complete, wide array of millions of species, little and large, that drive ecosystem processes, functions on which we humans rely in several ways. The other reality is that most people will only pay attention to something as cute as a panda or as large as an elephant.
Photosynthesis and nutrient cycling are examples of system functions that rely on bacteria, fungus, algae, and plankton on the one hand, and plants, herbivores, and carnivores on the other. Physical processes including rain, wind, and ocean currents are also part of the system’s functioning. For the systems to function efficiently for humans as well as
the organisms that constitute the systems, both ends of the living component (big species and small species) must be in balance. Ecosystem services refers to the “work” that these organisms do that we benefit from without having to “pay” anything for, i.e. ecological systems and species provide a free service to people. The breakdown of organic
compounds in the soil by bacteria and fungi, which is necessary for plant growth and effective farming, is an example. Tropical rainforests are, at a higher level, the water pumps that start the movement of the atmosphere, which in turn influences global climate patterns. Check out this video to see what I mean – The Circulation of the Global Atmosphere That’s a pretty impressive ecosystem function! There are also millions of different uses for species, ranging from antibiotics to meals and medicines for everything from blood thinners (vampire bat saliva) to cancer therapies (some of which are made from snake venoms, vampire bat saliva, and other sources). There’s no end to the list.
Unfortunately, human activities have put much of the world’s biodiversity in jeopardy, both directly and indirectly. The problem has become so clear and dangerous that a genuine proposal has been made to designate a new geological age, the Anthropocene, to highlight human rule over the world. To gain a better picture of what’s going on outside of our multiple city lines, read this recent article. The extinction of species is a serious problem.
Read Chapters 5-7 in the eText and conduct an online search for answers to the following questions. On YouTube, there are dozens of videos about biodiversity and ecosystem services, and ScienceDaily, ScienceNews, Google, and Wikipedia are useful resources for finding information.
Choose a single environment of your choice (desert, prairie, tropical rainforest, boreal forest, etc.) and describe its diversity succinctly.
Describe three ecological services provided to people by the environment you selected.
What are the most significant challenges to biodiversity in the ecosystem you’ve chosen?
*Support your initial post with three to four academic references in APA format with in-text citations!