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1. ecosystem different habitats to accommodate different species and provide for continued potential for evolution 2. species number of different species 3. genetic genetic diversity within an individual or population

Why Does Diversity Matter ?

Phytochemicals are often the basis for new pharmaceuticals Agriculture may need wild plant genes to enhance current crop plants

Ecosystem Services
Lack a formal market value and are taken for granted

Clean air & water Soil fertility Pollination Flood control.

How much species diversity?

1.5 million species identified on the planet actual number of species may be 5 100 million ?

Species Diversity: Where is it?

Decreases toward the poles & increases toward the equator

Due to the increased input of solar energy

Genetic Diversity

Pile of Buffalo skulls

Genetic Diversity

60 100 million pre-settlement Currently about 350,000

Species Extinction
Extinction is a natural phenomenon About 90% of all species that ever evolved are now extinct

The baseline rate of extinction is about one species globally per hundred years
Currently the rate of extinction is about 1,000 times greater This is due to human activity

Four Main Causes of Species Extinction

1. Habitat loss 2. Invasive species 3. Pollution 4. Over-exploitation

Habitat Loss
Las Vegas

LA Freeway

The primary reason for loss of biodiversity is habitat loss due to human development

Habitat Loss in Wisconsin

The Tension Zone Prairie SW Forest NE

Habitat Loss in Wisconsin

There is one tenth of 1% of the prairie habitat remaining in Wisconsin

Invasive Species
The second most significant reason for loss of biodiversity

Chemical Pollution

point source

non-point source

Chemical Pollution: The Body Burden

Approx. 80,000 synthetic chemicals are produced

They are on food that we eat, in water that we drink and attach to dust particles in the air we breath
Several hundred have been isolated in human blood samples

Lawns: An American Obsession

32 million acres of lawn More than any other single crop

Lawns: Fertilizers

Runoff from farms and lawns Fertilizers alter nutrient cycles and case populations explosions of some organisms

Lawns: Herbicides and Pesticides

Pesticides and herbicides are used on lawns Several pesticides have been associated with a 70% increased risk of Parkinsons disease Pesticides have been linked to bladder cancer in dogs


Produced from petrochemicals


Most plastic accumulates in the oceans About 80% of all plastic garbage comes from the land

Light Pollution


Causes problems for nocturnal & migratory animals that use the sky to orient themselves


Caused by condensation of jet engine exhaust


Alters the amount of solar energy getting to Earths surface


clear cutting forests


clear cutting forests

Bottom trawling



Invasive Species
May be plant or animal An alien (foreign) species that is introduced into a new habitat

Since the alien did not evolve in its new habitat there are not checks and balances
Invasive species invade and dominate the new habitat


Garlic mustard Herbaceous woodland biennial, in Wisconsin, blooms in spring, likes partial shade

2. Buckthorn woody shrub/small tree, very shade tolerant, replaces other woody species in Wisconsin

3. Purple loosestrife major problem in wetlands. Three insects have been introduced as biological control

4. Eurasian Water Milfoil introduced from aquariums, reproduces from fragments, moved form lake to lake by recreational boaters

Some examples of invasive animals

1. Zebra/Quagga Mussels introduced from water ballast, ocean shipping to the Great Lakes

2. Emerald Ash Borer larvae feed on wood in trees, often killing the tree


European Starling
100 released in Central Park in 1890 by someone who wished to establish all the birds mentioned in Shakespeares works in the New World

There is now a population of 140 million to 200 million in the US