Chapter 16: Biodiversity

 

 

 

BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY

Also known as biodiversity, is the variation among organisms.

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SPECIES DIVERSITY

Biological diversity that encompasses the number of different species in in an area (or community).

 

 

GENETIC DIVERSITY

 

 

Biological diversity that encompasses the genetic variety among individuals within a single species.

 

 

ECOSYSTEM DIVERSITY

Biological diversity that encompasses the variety among ecosystems, such as forests, grasslands, deserts, lakes, estuaries, and oceans.

 

 

ECOSYSTEM SERVICES

 

 

 

Important environmental services, such as clean air to breather, clean water to drink, and fertile soil in which to grow crops, that ecosystems provide.

 

 

 

BACKGROUND EXTINCTION

The continuous, low-level extinction of species that has occured throughout much of the history of life.

MASS EXTINCTION

 

 

 

The extinction of numerous species during a relatively short period of geological time.

 

 

ENDANGERED SPECIES

A species whose numbers are so severly reduced that it is in imminent danger of becoming extinct in all or a significant part of its range.

 

 

 

RANGE

The area of the Earth in which a particular species occurs.

THREATENED

 

 

A species in which the population is low enough for it to be at risk of becoming endangered in the foreseable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

 

 

 

HABITAT FRAGMENTATION

The division of habitats that formerly occupied large, unbroken areas into smaller pieces by roads, fields, cities and other human activities.

 

 

ADAPTIVE RADIATION

The evolution of a large number of related species from an unspecialized ancestral organism.

 

 

 

BIOTIC POLLUTION

The accidental or intentional introduction of a foreign, or exotic, species into an area where it is not native.

 

 

 

COMMERCIAL HARVEST

The collection of commercially imported organisms from the wild.  Examples include the commercial harvest of parrots (for the pet trade) and cacti (for house plants).

 

 

 

BELLWETHER SPECIES

(SENTINEL SPECIES)

An organism that provides an early warning of environmental damage.  Examples include lichens, which are very sensitive to air pollution, and amphibians, which are sensitive to pesticides and other environmental contaminants.

 

 

CONSERVATION BIOLOGY

A multidisciplinary science that focuses on the study of how humans impact organisms and on the development of ways to protect biological diversity; includes in situ and ex situ conservation.

 

 

 

EX SITU CONSERVATION

 

 

 

Conservation efforts that involve conserving biological diversity in human-controlled settings.

 

 

 

IN SITU CONSERVATION

Conservation efforts that concentrate on preserving biological diversity in the wild.

 

 

 

RESTORATION ECOLOGY

A new field of science in which the principles of ecology are used to help return a degraded environment as close as possible to its former, undisturbed state.

 

 

 

ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT (ESA)

It was designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a "consequence of economic growth and development untendered by adequate concern and conservation.

 

 

 

COMMERCIAL EXTINCTION

Depletion of the population of a commercially important species to the point that is is unprofitable to harvest.

BIOACCUMULATE

 

 

 

The buildup of a persistent toxic substance, such as certain pesticides, in an organism’s body.