“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” ~ Charles Darwin
Biodiversity is a word that addresses the diversity of life on earth which includes plants, animals, people, and bacteria–oh my! Each species (both human and nonhuman) carries a genetic coding. Each of Earth’s ecosystems of unique plants, animals, and people create interconnected biodiversity of place and region. Subcategories of biodiversity genetic diversity and species diversity inform the characteristics of the biodiversity in the area. Scientists have discovered around 2 million species, but imagine that the earth supports more than 10 – 30 million species! From the tiniest microbe to the giant tree, biodiversity is not just in your local park or wildlife preserve–it’s everywhere, even in your front yard and in you!!!. The more diverse the ecosystems, species, and genetic codes are within an area, the more resilient and flexible change is.
Each part of an ecosystem is crucial to its long-term survival–that’s why we must continue fostering biodiversity everywhere we can.
Activity 1 – Chart the Biodiversity of Life on Earth
Try to imagine all of the living things on earth! What categories and species would they belong to? How many people are there compared to nonhuman living species? There are still many unexplored areas of the world. Many species can’t be seen by the naked eye, and some biomes have more biodiversity than others. The pie chart of living things that we know reveals that there are more insect species than any other type of life on earth. Look at this half-earth biodiversity map by the E.O. Wilson Foundation, asking for half of the planet to remain for all nonhuman life forms. Research and create a chart of all living things on earth. Which are the most and which are the least! Ask yourself which ones are important to human life?
Activity 2 – Biodiversity of Life is Essential
Humans are part of nature. We exist in nature; nature provides this earth and its systems for us. Nonhuman life evolved over billions of years before humans arrived. Ethically, plants, animals, and insects have the right to continue to exist and grow just as humans do. In fact, human life depends upon them. Living things provide food, medicine, and many products that help humans live. Nature also provides a connection with other living things. The living cycles of the air, water, and land provide endless scenes and experiences of beauty. With increased human populations, biodiversity is removed. Make a Bar chart showing where most of the biodiversity is in the world. Is it under the water? Is it on land? Is it in the deep sediments?
Create a community map noting high and low areas of biodiversity. Upload it to the gallery.
Activity 3 – Map the Biodiversity in Your Neighborhood (Bio Blitz)
How much biodiversity is in your neighborhood? Take a walk around your block and take note of the various types of biodiversity in the area. You can even make a map beforehand and, while walking, mark down where each kind of organism is. Are they plants? Are they fungi? Spiders? Worms? Birds? Insects? You can check what has been observed in your area on INaturalist Bioblitz by entering your city or town. an example of a Book Bioblitz Kit is also available in some areas to borrow. Record all of the flora and fauna. Look high and low to find organisms you may not have observed before but who leave right under , beside, or above you! Photograph your finds and identify them using the I Naturalist app. You are becoming a Citizen scientist and helping the world collect data!
Draw each one that you see! Upload your biodiversity drawing to the gallery!
Activity 4 – Improve Biodiversity Brainstorm
Many cities and towns need better biodiversity due to excessive paving and inattention or replacement of local ecosystems. Nature was here for billions of years before humans. As cities urbanize and grow in size, they are removing nature’s biodiversity. When roads are built, buildings are built, these built environments remove natural bio of ecosystems.
Can you think of any ways that you could improve the biodiversity in your neighborhood, your town, and your state?
Research healthy ecosystems, flora, and fauna in your area, and then draw what your yard would look like with biodiversity before people arrived.
Activity 5 – Invasive Species
Sometimes, humans and other animals introduce flora and fauna into new areas. Sometimes, this is natural and improves biodiversity. However, invasive species like emerald ash borers, garlic mussels, or sea lamprey can eat up others living things in the food chain and damage the balance of biodiversity, causing species to die or move away. Find out what invasive species are in your area and write about methods being introduced to control or eliminate their spread. Upload invasive species to the gallery.
Activity 6 – Look Beyond your Biome!
Our Earth is rich in biodiversity. Biodiversity varies significantly globally, from the depths of the Amazon Rainforest to the middle of an arid desert. Look at the BIOMES Journey to see the diversity of natural ecosystems. Choose one of the ecosystems that you need to become more familiar with and look up the weather conditions. For example, note the monthly temperature, humidity, and wind fluctuation. The weather is the driver of the climate in our ecosystems. Next, research the kinds of flora and fauna that exist there! How many different species can you find? Pick a biome or region on Google Earth besides your own, and look into the biodiversity there. How does it differ from the biodiversity where you live? What adaptations have flora and fauna made to flourish?
Make a Biodiversity poster of a Biome’s flora and fauna and upload it to the gallery.
Find the NEXT.cc Biome Worksheet that fits your ecosystem and adds as many plants and animals to the worksheet as possible. Upload your Drawing to the Gallery!
Activity 7 – Benefits of Stewardship of Biodiversity
The biodiversity of life forms is part of the evolution of life. It is the trial and error development of life forms of all types. Biodiversity increases the vitality of ecosystems, and ecosystems are nature’s way of supporting ongoing life in areas. Humans are learning the many benefits of stewardship of biodiversity. For example, many medicinal discoveries connect humans with products from flora and fauna; from antibodies to homeopathic remedies, nature abounds with life that can help us cure diseases, soothe our aches and pains, and support our health. Humans are discovering new foods such as plant and insect-based proteins and algae products to help feed the world’s growing population. Conservation areas preserve biodiversity regions and help protect flora and fauna from extinction. Most importantly, biodiversity improves the resilience of ecosystems, expanding diverse paths for evolution and increasing the stability of food chains and the cycle of life systems.
Research the three most biodiverse regions of the world and draw them and some of their human and nonhuman life.
- Biodiversity is defined as
- How many species have been discovered by humans?
- What categories of Biodiversity exist?
- What is the species that has the largest population of all species on earth?
- What are threats that cause biodiversity loss?
- BioDesign Challenge
- Bio Diversity and Human Well Being
- Biodiversity Case Study
- Convention on Biological Diversity
- Discover LIFE
- Economics of Eco Systems & Biodiversity
- EOL Encyclopedia of Life
- EOL Encylcopedia of Life One Species at a Time Podcasts
- E O Wilson speaks
- Half Earth Asks Countries to Protect Their Bio Diversity
- Half Earth Map
- Half-Earth Maps
- INaturalist Bioblitzing
- Indigenous people and Nature
- Khan Academy How Much Biodiversity Do We Really Know?
- Life on Earth, In Oceans, and Subsurfaces
- Maya Lin What's Missing?
- Nat Geo INaturalist and Bioblitz
- TEDed Why is Biodiversity so important?
- TEDed Why is Biodiversity so important?
- The Half-Earth Project
- United Nations Decade of Biodiversity
- Family Tree
- Great Lakes
- Green Roofs
- Growing food
- Nature Patterns
- Rain Gardens
- School Gardens
- Tree Identification
- Vegetable gardens