Why Preserve Biodiversity? ANSWERS 1. Define the term “biodiversity” Biodiversity, or biological diversity, is the term for the variety of life and the natural processes of which living things are a part. This includes the living organisms and the genetic differences between them and the communities in which they occur. The concept of biodiversity represents the ways that life is organized and interacts on our planet. 2. What is ecology? Ecology is the study of organisms and their relationship with their surroundings.
Ecologists study the interaction between an organism and its environment. Some ecologists study the interaction of a specific species or habitat; others study the different species that depend on each other (ex. a food web). 3. What is a biome? A biome can be described as an area on our earth that shares the same species, climate, animals, and plants. There are actually about 150 different classified biomes today. The main biomes are Marine, Tundra, Desert, Savannah, Grassland, Tropical Rain Forest, Deciduous Forest, and Coniferous Forest. 4. What is an ecosystem?
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An ecosystem includes all the abiotic factors in addition to the community of species that exists in a certain area. Human populations depend on plants and animals for much of their food, medicines, clothing, and shelter. Perhaps even more important, intact ecosystems perform many vital functions, like purifying the air, filtering harmful substances out of water, turning decayed matter into nutrients, preventing erosion and flooding, and moderating climate. 5. What is meant by extinction? Name a species on the Niagara Escarpment that is threatened and could become extinct in the future.
All living things are part of a complex, delicately balanced network called the biosphere. The earth’s biosphere is composed of ecosystems, which include plants and animals and their physical environment. The removal of a single species within an ecosystem can set off a chain reaction affecting many other species. It has been estimated that a disappearing plant can take with it up to 30 other species, including insects, higher animals, and even other plants. The most common cause of extinction is habitat loss.
Plants and animals need space to live and energy provided by food, just as humans do. Even if habitat is not completely destroyed, it can be fragmented or degraded so much that it can no longer support the species it once did. Many species, particularly large mammals, need large areas of habitat to survive and reproduce. Patches of forest or grassland surrounded by farms or cities, or divided by roads, will not support these species. Examples of threatened species on the Escarpment: Jefferson Salamander, Opossum, Red Shouldered Hawk, Eastern Massassaga Rattlesnake and Redside Dace (a fish).
Examples of birds include the Acadian Flycatcher, Hooded Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush and Cerulean Warbler. 6. List three reasons why biodiversity is important and why endangered animals and habitats should be protected. recreational (outdoor activities such as hiking and fishing) economic health (biodiversity can help people find cures and medicines) human rights (Native communities in Canada) spiritual/intrinsic value 7. Choose two of the most convincing reasons above and write a two-paragraph essay about preserving biodiversity.