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by: Carina Sauter

Biodiversity Ecology 1000

Carina Sauter
GPA 3.79

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About this Document

These are the first set of notes in preparation for exam 2. The lecture introduced the three factors that make up biodiversity where we see biodiversity around the world.
Introduction to Environmental Issues
Class Notes
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Carina Sauter on Tuesday October 4, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Ecology 1000 at University of Georgia taught by Connelly in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Environmental Issues in Ecology at University of Georgia.


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Date Created: 10/04/16
Biodiversity/ Diversity of Life • Questions: o What do we mean by “biodiversity”? § Look at the differences between organisms throughout the world o How do we measure it? § We want to have benchmarks to compare changes o Why should we strive to protect diversity at all scales? • More species now than every o How many species do we have? § 10 million? 1 trillion? o Why are we so concerned with losses? § Trees, animals, organisms are going extinct § Medicines from plants, behaviors from animals • Driving trees into extinction because we want their chemicals o Dr. Paul Cox’s case study § Plant physiologist § 1970’s: Family moved to Samoan rainforest in hopes of finding a cure for cancer among the many plants in this lush, tropical area • wanted to volunteer and was interested in Botany • received PhD at Harvard, brought up a family, and mother died from cancer • realized that many of the people in Samoa are extremely healthy – used plants and animals to protect themselves § Why did Dr. Cox choose Samoa to search or a cancer cure? • Samoa is located in a tropical region, which is characteristically warm, lush, and close to the equator • It’s this combination of environmental factors that gives areas like Samoa the greatest biodiversity on Earth • The particular area where the Cox family settled had especially high ecological diversity, in addition to high genetic and species diversity • Biodiversity: complexity of organisms at different levels of organization; variety among organisms and ecological systems at all levels of organization o What is meant by variety among organisms and ecological systems at all levels of organization? § Genetic diversity: variation in the genes among individuals of the same species • Within populations, biodiversity is measured by genetic diversity (the genetic variation among individuals) = hair color, height, blood type, etc. • Genetic diversity improves survival of population, particularly important in changing environments o Helps the population – the group of the same species – will be prepared for environmental change • Outbreeding, through sexual reproduction of not closely related individuals, maximized genetic diversity • Inbreeding, or mating between closely related individuals, results from small population and increases changes of genetic diseases (hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, etc.) • Genetic variation within a species reduces the risk of the genetic disorders associated with inbreeding o Ex. panther cubs were produced by crossbreeding endangered Florida panthers with mountain lions from Texas à as a result, the cubs do not display the kinds of problems that commonly arise from inbreeding § Species Diversity: the variety of species present in an area; includes the number of different species that are present as well as their relative abundance • Salamander Diversity in Georgia • Endemic species: organisms that are found only in specific localities o The moisture rich forests of the southern Appalachian Mountains are an ideal home for Jordan’s salamander, one of 20 salamander species found only in this location – rare § Ecological diversity: variety of habitats, niches, trophic levels, and community interactions • Structural complexity of habitat • Ex. a tropical forest has far more structural complexity than a grassland which creates numerous habitats that support many more species • Ex. The structural complexity of coral reefs supports many more species than nearby sandy ocean bottoms o Which groups account for most global biodiversity? § Bacteria: 8000 species known § Roundworms: ~ 25,000 § Vertebrates: ~ 62,000 § Fungi: ~ 100,000 § Arachnids: ~ 100,000 § Plants: 310,000 species known, estimated maybe 400,000 more § Insects: ~ 1 million species known, estimated maybe 9 million more • Ex. beetles o Isoclines: connect similar numbers – indicate specie richness increasing going toward the equator • Tropical Biodiversity o Within most groups of organisms, numbers of species increase markedly toward the equator § Ants • Canada – 10 species • New York – 50-100 species • Central America – 100-200 species § Birds • Greenland – 56 species • New York – 105 species • Guatemala – 469 species • Colombia – 1,395 species § What’s going on in Africa? • Desert o Why is there high tropical biodiversity? What drives it? § Diversity increases without limit over time • Tropical habitats being older than temperate and artic habitats, have had time to accumulate more species; longer span for the process of speciation § Diversity reaches an equilibrium in which factors adding species balance factors removing species • In the tropics, factors adding species (such as speciation) occur at a faster rate than factors removing species (such as extinctions)


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