Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Biodiversity and Why it Matters

      Biodiversity is the biological variety of life on Earth, this includes all domains of life and is a major sign of the health of an ecosystem. Declining biodiversity is a sign of an unhealthy ecosystem. Biodiversity is important because it boosts the productivity of the ecosystem, the smallest form of life is just as important as the largest. A healthy ecosystem that has a high level of biodiversity can better withstand and recover from natural disasters. Despite 'survival of the fittest' alluding to a constant competition in nature (along with predator vs prey), organisms rely on one another very closely to one another to survive. Each species depends on the other for services that they themselves can not manage to do. For example soil microorganisms provide plants with nutrients needed to sustain life or more obviously bees collecting pollen provides plants with the ability to reproduce.
     Decreasing biodiversity does not just impact a few species in an ecosystem, it can wipe out an entire ecosystem, which can impact people who depend on the thriving diversity of a particular ecosystem to make a living. Taking one prey out of the ecosystem makes a predator have to hunt more aggressively its remaining prey, this can destabilize many ecological relationships. It is important to note that Humans can not intervene to effectively fill the void left by a species once it has been removed from an ecosystem, it is impossible to act as effectively as an organisms who have evolved to fit a specific role in a system. The loss of many large carnivores can leaver herbivores unchecked, causing devastation to plant life, it is important to remember that every ecosystem has a carry capacity for each organism and so we should try to upset the balance as little as possible so a species does not surpass carry capacity and cause devastating damage to their world.

By: Mairead Brennan


1 comment:

  1. I am very interested in ecology. Ecology is defined as a branch of biology that pertains to the relations of organisms to one another and to the physical surroundings. I think it is fascinating how organisms react certain ways based on the environment they are in and to the other organisms that surround them.

    I bring up the topic of ecology because in order to understand the environment you have to understand ecology because they are connected. We live in ecosystems, from atoms or molecules to the biosphere. Whether you are thinking big or small you have to understand how everything in the ecosystem works and reacts in order to make a change or add something. Making the slightest change could destroy an ecosystem.

    If people want to make changes to the environment they need to make sure that no harmful effects will take place and drastically change the environment. Also, that when officials make these changes they keep in mind all of the living and nonliving organisms.

    I hope to learn more about ecology and biology because I hope to pursue those topics as majors in college. I think it would be really awesome and beneficial to meet an ecologist and discuss the research and fieldwork they do.