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Biodiversity represents the variability in genes, speciation and ecological features present on Earth, which allow for the functioning of ecosystems, interactions between species and the complexity of individual species. Biodiversity is a fundamental feature which society is dependent upon. For instance, all of the ecosystem services which society capitalizes on are a result of biodiversity in action.

Biodiversity is the foundation of all ecosystem services. Ecosystem services can be viewed as provisioning services such as food, regulatory services such as when used for disease control, or cultural services and supporting services such as in nutrient cycling1. Furthermore, biodiversity is used to produce many ecosystem goods, is essential for food security and provides resistance against natural hazards.

For example, Cavendish bananas, a very popular fruit, are at risk of a possible extinction similar to what happened to a particular strain of potato during the Irish Famine due to low genetic diversity. Currently, Cavendish bananas are the supermarkets top choice for bananas sold worldwide, but they are at risk from a fungal disease known as black sigatoka, which could wipe out the entirety of Cavendish bananas2. Unlike other organisms which can generate genetic diversity through sexual selection, and thus increase their ability for disease resistance, bananas are propagated from identical clone plants and not seeds3. Although there is more than 1 variety of bananas grown, some others are not edible or are not as nutritious as this variety. This is largely problematic, not only in terms of economics, but for developing countries in which Cavendish bananas are a cheap, nutritious dietary staple2.

Biodiversity is extremely valuable for every aspect of society. Biodiversity allows for sound ecosystem functioning and the patterns of species diversity seen across the globe. Thus, if not conserved properly, the long-term benefits of biodiversity may be lost forever.




1. IUCN (International Union for Conservation on Nature). (2013). Conserving the diversity of life. Retrieved from 

2. (2005). Building a Better Banana. Retrieved from

3. MSN News. (2013). Is it time to say 'bye-bye' to the banana? Retrieved from

Title Image Credit: Flickr

Categories within Biodiversity

Patterns of Diversity

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Patterns of diversity relate to the ecological and landscape features which have created diversity across different populations as they have had to adapt to specific environmental conditions.

Conserving Biodiversity

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Conserving biodiversity means that the diversity of ecosystems, genes and species present on the planet will be protected.

The Species Approach to Sustaining Biodiversity

Review the following statements and choose one that best describes your feelings towards wildlife. Defend the statement you choose by providing at least three reasons for your point of view. a) As long as it stays in its space, wildlife is okay. b) As long as I do not need its space, wildlife is okay. c) I

What could be the pros and cons of populating the area with animals?

The decline of biodiversity at the hands of modern humans likely started even before the last Ice Ages. Recently some scientists have proposed a scenario called "Pleistocene re-wilding," which offers an optimistic agenda for 21st-century conservation to bring back animals that disappeared from North America 13,000 years ago.

What is biodiversity?

* What is biodiversity? * What are some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the globe and how are humans impacting it? * Is maintaining biodiversity essential for human sustainability? * What can be done to maintain today's current biodiversity levels? * What are invasive species and how do they impact biodiversity? Provid

Trophic Levels in an Ecosystem

What are the three trophic levels in an ecosystem # What are the three trophic levels and give an example of each. # What trophic level do you think is the most important in the ecosystem and why? # What is biodiversity? Is it important? Relate biodiversity to the trophic levels. # What would happen to the rest of the tr

Importance of Biodiversity

Suppose you were hired by the largest natural history museum in the world. Your first responsibility will be to design an exhibit that emphasizes the importance of biodiversity. Pick three regions and show the causes in wildlife extinction as well as demonstrate ways wildlife extinction impacts our world. While outlining the

Threatened, endangered and extinct species

Compare and contrast the designations of threatened, endangered, and extinct species. Describe three human causes of species endangerment and/or extinction. Identify and discuss four ways in which forest trees are currently harvested. Which method is the most ecologically sound, and why? Which method is the most economical?