The variety of different species in an
genetic variation within a population of a species,
variety of kinds of ecosystems.
The word biodiversity has
come to mean 'the web of life,' or 'all living things
interconnected.' (Peter Raven, Director of the Missouri
Greater biodiversity makes species
and systems more resilient, while loss of biodiversity weakens them,
making them more vulnerable to extinction." (Committee for the
National Institute for the Environment)
If a large proportion of the biosphere
is invested in only a small
number of species (such as humans and their associated
domesticated/cultivated species), this will result in an inherently
Species - a group of
related and similar living organisms that can interbreed
among their own species and produce fertile offspring.
diversity - the different types of living organisms
within a region or ecosystem (plants, animals, and other
Genetic - heredity
passed from parent to offspring (physical and functional)
- the differences between living organisms within a species.
- all the living organisms and all the non-living components
of a given area interacting as a whole functional unit.
- the variety of different habitats in a particular area
(i.e., wetland, woodland, grassland; coral reef, tidepool,
Classification Naming System - Living organisms are
organized into a complex scientific classification naming system
(called taxonomy) that is based on
similarities and differences among
organisms. It is a way of categorizing and keeping
track of organisms that have
been scientifically identified. Taxonomy is a common
language used by scientists as they study living and
previously living organisms.
In the simplest terms
related to our daily lives, you might compare taxonomy to
our filing systems where we keep papers and letters
organized in file folders, or the way we keep our things
organized in drawers and cupboards in our homes, or the way
items are organized in grocery stores. Things that are
alike are kept together and organized, and we know what we
have (like an inventory).
The taxonomy system is a
valued global resource in helping developed and developing
countries to accurately identify, name, and classify the
biodiversity in their regions, and to understand the
relationships of all organisms.
The sequence of categories
for identifying and classifying living organisms, starting at the
If you are reading this, you
are a Homo sapien (human being), and classified as
follows (Click on
links for information) :
The classification system
has changed somewhat over time and will continue to change as new
understanding of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) genome
structures are being developed.
Scientific name: Homo sapiens
translates from Latin as Homo (self, man or human
being), sapiens (wise,
knowing). The Latin "homo" is related to the word
"humus" earth, and could be viewed as a kind of "earthling."
Homo sapiens are
living organisms and part of the biodiversity of planet
Homo sapiens consider Homo sapiens to be "wise
TAXONOMY AT WORK
Biologists Revise Outdated Amphibian Taxonomy
(Fox News, 4/19/06)
New information is based on analyzing
DNA and other data.
Amphibians Hang Out in New Tree of Life (LiveScience,
The largest analysis ever, of the evolutionary relationships
among all living amphibians has been completed. In
fact, this project also is the largest of any kind so far of
any group of vertebrate animals. See images of the
project and the new amphibian tree of life.
"We have scarcely as
yet read more than the title page and preface of the great
volume of nature"
First Smithsonian Secretary
We are just barely starting to
learn about the vast number of life forms that
exist on our planet, as we have only discovered
a small number of living organisms so far.
"Ancient forests, free-flowing
rivers, living oceans and deserts
and the abundance of life they contain:
all these, having evolved over millions of years,
are in danger of vanishing
from the world within decades."
for Biological Diversity)
"Currently the conservation
of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its
components is a priority, given the environmental crisis of
the planet in recent decades. Knowledge of biodiversity
becomes urgent in view of the rapid process of the loss of
ecosystems, species and genes, as well as a broad spectrum
of environmental services and products derived from plants
and animals pending discovery or study."
REMIB - World Biodiversity Information Network
"It is reckless to suppose that biodiversity can be diminished indefinitely
without threatening humanity itself."
||- Edward O. Wilson,
author of "The Diversity of Life"