- In 250-350 words, explain what Biodiversity is and why it is so important for us to understand how it works.
By definition, biodiversity is a measure of variation and richness of living organisms at a particular scale. The term refers to all of the different varieties of organisms that exist across planet Earth. The theory of biological diversity tries to explain how the variability between species exists and what it means for different ecosystems. Earth is about 4.54 billion years old. After a geological crust formed, living organisms were able to form and use the resources provided to them in order to grow and diversify.
In nature, biodiversity is prevalent to the survival of human species. We are provided with food, shelter, fossil fuels, medications, and much more. As far as mankind knows, as of now, about 70,000 species of plants exist. These plants are essential to the survival of humans, but also birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, insects, and much more!
Biodiversity allows for the formation of a sort of ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are services in which ecosystems perform for humanity. Each organism depends on another organism in order to survive. These services are necessary to the survival of each and every living species. When a species dies off, it causes major problems for another species survival. When major environmental changes occur, it can cause mass extinctions. These types of environmental changes are that of things we have touched on during this course such as climate change, natural hazards, and the growth of food/agriculture.
Since the beginning of life, five major mass extinctions have occurred. These extinctions were the result of minor events that ended up leading to large and sudden drops in biodiversity. The most well known major extinction was the extinction of dinosaurs. That extinction was caused strictly by the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event where major asteroid impacts effected the global environment in a way that did not allow for dinosaurs to survive. This altering of the environment was strong enough to wipe out an entire species. This is why biodiversity is so important and it forces us to have to maintain our environment. If we effect the environment too much, we could cause our own extinction.
- In 250-350 words, discuss a current event that could cause major effects to our global environment and what this would mean for the species throughout Earth.
According to an article by NASA, the wintertime extent of 2016 has caused the Arctic sea ice level to hit a record low and could result global environmental major issues. Each year, the cap of frozen seawater melts as the spring and summer times occur. Then, as winter starts up again, the ice forms, and reaches its maximum point. This year, the Arctic sea ice level reached a maximum point of 5.607 million square miles. This is the lowest maximum ice level since 1979. During the last 13 years, the 13 lowest maximums have occurred.
Many human factors have provoked this issue, but it is also due to wind patterns that have caused unfavorable ice growth from warm airwaves. Over the course of a few decades, the ocean has warmed up. This is a result of a warmer atmosphere, which keeps the Earth warm. The warmer the atmosphere, the warmer the seawater, and the less ice formations occur. Other human factors are a much bigger cause of this issue. Pollution, ocean garbage disposal, and much more have caused this rise in the atmosphere’s temperature. Natural occurrences cannot be prevented, but all of the actions that the human species perform that are not in favor of our environment have caused this problem.
The reason that this change is such a problem is that the Arctic sea ice plays a very important role in maintaining Earth’s temperature. This means that areas in which colder ecosystems exist are starting to warm up. Different organisms need different types of environments in order to survive. If the temperatures change too much, species that cannot cope with the change will die off. This will cause a chain reaction and cause issues for more and more species. This current event is a major problem for the maintaining of biodiversity.
Article Site: http://climate.nasa.gov/news/2422/