The Diversity of Life on Earth from Heritage to Extinction e-book version 
by Sylvain Richer de Forges 
© Sylvain Richer d...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 
2 
This book aims to address the dr...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 
3 
Introduction 
of knowledge is co...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 
4 
Table of Content (1) 
Chapter II...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 
5 
Chapter III: Main Biodiversity R...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 
6 
Chapter V: A Few Case Studies of...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 
7 
Chapter VII: Biodiversity Hotspo...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 
8 
Chapter IX: The Importance of Bi...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 
9 
Chapter XI: Common Misunderstand...
A living fossil: Gymnocrinus richeri 
Chapter I 
A Brief History of Natural Diversity 
How a few key persons and discoveri...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 
11 
Our knowledge of biology and th...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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12 
I.1 Succession of Life Forms Ov...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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13 
Life originated on Earth betwee...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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14 
Fossils are the preserved remai...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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15 
I.3 (b) The fossil record provi...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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16 
Buffon is considered to be one ...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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17 
Carl Linnaeus (23rd May 1707- 1...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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18 
I.6 Naming Species 
Nomenclatur...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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19 
Taxonomy: Taxonomy is the scien...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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20 
I.7 (b) 
Studying species requi...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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21 
Charles Darwin (12 feb 1809-19 ...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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22 
Alfred Russel Wallace (8 Jan 18...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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23 
The first microscope to be deve...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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24 
I.10 Pasteur and Micro-Organism...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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25 
The commercial value of biodive...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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26 
During the 19th century, the qu...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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27 
The expedition of the Challenge...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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28 
I.12 (c) 
The great exploration...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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29 
Johann Gregor Mendel (22 July 1...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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30 
Desoxyribonucleic acid (or DNA)...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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31 
The expression “biological dive...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 
32 
As highlighted in this first ch...
A living fossil: Gymnocrinus richeri 
Chapter II 
The Diversity of Life on Earth 
How incredibly diverse are life forms on...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 
34 
Introduction Chapter II: 
The D...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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35 
Biodiversity is the variation o...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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36 
II.1 (b) 
Biodiversity is like ...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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37 
II.2 Levels of Biodiversity 
Th...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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38 
II.3 (a) Biodiversity: what do ...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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39 
II.3 (b) 
Most species on Earth...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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40 
II.3 (c) Biodiversity: what do ...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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41 
II.3 (d) 
While most conservati...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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42 
The discovery of DNA and the ge...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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43 
II.4 (b) In fact, one of the fe...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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44 
II.5 (a) Speciation and Adaptat...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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45 
II.5 (b) 
Due to natural pressu...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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46 
Sylvain Richer de Forges 
II.5 ...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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47 
II.6 
The tree of life. All spe...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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48 
II.7 Archaea 
The Archaea: are ...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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49 
The bacteria are a large group ...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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50 
II.9 (a) Eukaryotes (Plants, Fu...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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51 
II.9 (b) 
Biodiversity is the m...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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52 
II.10 Plants 
Belonging to the ...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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53 
II.11 (a) Fungus 
A fungus is a...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 
54 
Species are closely interrelate...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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55 
II.12 (a) Animals 
Animals are ...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 
56 
II.12 (b) 
Isolated ecosystems ...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 
57 
II.13 (a) Insects 
Insects are ...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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58 
II.13 (b) 
Many insects are con...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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59 
II. 13 (c) Insects 
Insects tha...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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60 
I.13 (d) Insects represent the ...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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61 
Mammals (formally Mammalia) are...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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62 
II.14 (b) 
Mammals have develop...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 
63 
II.15 (a) Reptiles 
Reptiles, o...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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64 
II.15 (b) Reptiles have adapted...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 
65 
As presented in this chapter, s...
A living fossil: Gymnocrinus richeri 
Chapter III 
Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems 
How the vast majority of the diversi...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 
67 
Introduction Chapter III: 
Main...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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68 
III.1 Rainforests 
Rainforests ...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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69 
III.2 (a) Coral Reefs 
Reefs ar...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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70 
III.2 (b) 
Under current climat...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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71 
III.3 Mangroves 
Mangroves are ...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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72 
Because they have become isolat...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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73 
Isolated ecosystems, case study...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 
74 
III.5 (a) The Abyss 
The abyss ...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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75 
III.5 (b) 
We know more about o...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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76 
III.5 (c) Deep Water Thermal Ve...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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77 
III.6 Seagrass Beds 
Seagrasses...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 
78 
Conclusion Chapter III 
As pres...
A living fossil: Gymnocrinus richeri 
Chapter IV 
Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity 
How humans have drastically changed ...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 
80 
Introduction Chapter IV: 
Anthr...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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81 
IV.1 (a) Deforestation 
Defores...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 
82 
Forests are vanishing around th...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 
83 
Many still have the misconcepti...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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84 
IV.2 (a) Mining 
Mining activit...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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85 
IV.2 (b) 
Mining is one of the ...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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86 
Many nations depend almost enti...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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87 
The replacement of traditional ...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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88 
IV.3 (C) 
As industrial fishing...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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89 
As the top predator in the ocea...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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90 
All Shark species must become p...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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91 
We do not know the full extent ...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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92 
IV.4 Illegal Trading of Species...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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93 
IV.5 (a) Agriculture 
Over the ...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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94 
In order to preserve biodiversi...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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95 
IV.5 (c) Pesticides used in agr...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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96 
IV.6 Bio-Engineering 
Genetical...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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97 
IV.7 Industrialisation and Asso...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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98 
IV.8 (a) Pollution and Biodiver...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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99 
IV.8 (b) While some substances ...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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100 
Eutrophication (or algal bloom...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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101 
IV.9 (a) Climate Change and Bi...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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102 
IV.9 (b) Climate Change and Bi...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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103 
The impact of global warming o...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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104 
IV.9 (d) Coastal ecosystems an...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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105 
IV.9 (e) The thought of the sc...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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106 
IV.9 (f) Climate Change is the...
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107 
IV.10 (a) Human Disturbances /...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
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108 
IV.10 (b) World Population Pre...
The Diversity Of Life On Earth 
2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 
109 
IV.10 (c) 
The environment wil...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on ...
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The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on Earth and sustainable development. (www.bluestrike-group.com)

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An e-book adapted from my book “The Diversity of Life on Earth: from Heritage to Extinction” (ISBN 978-981-07-3457-2). This very simplified version is an online adaptation that features some selected components of the book.

For information about the book itself and its associated international program: “The Biodiversity Portal of Singapore” please refer to www.biodiversity.sg

Book Synopsis:

Author: Sylvain Richer de Forges
Foreword: Prof Peter Ng

While numerous books have been published on the topic of biodiversity, this particular 273 pages long book portrays life on Earth in a very holistic manner and also clearly links the notion of biodiversity with the concept of sustainable development.

Overall, this book aims to address the dramatic issue of the acceleration of extinction of species on Earth as the result of human intrusion. In its unique format, it navigates surrounding concepts of biodiversity: the state of our knowledge; the diversity of life on Earth; where most life forms are found; the human impacts; the current status of extinctions; the potential of preserving biodiversity and its implications for human civilizations and what should be tried to preserve the diversity of life on Earth.

Key concepts of sustainable development are explored through a series of essays. Indeed, human activities are the main threat to biodiversity. As such, implementing more sustainable development models is key in reducing the impacts on biodiversity though modifications, among others, in our use of energy sources, the built environment and water management.

The other particularity of this book is the display of numerous exclusive images of wildlife and ecosystems landscapes. Over 350 pictures taken around the world from the deserts of western Africa, the lagoons of French Polynesia to the dense forests of Asia and the icy waters of Antarctica are displayed in this book showcasing key images of wildlife and ecosystems in a state of change. The art of photography can be a powerful tool to convey key messages.

The book also features a foreword from Professor Peter K. L. Ng, director of The Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research at the National University of Singapore.

Book press coverage:
http://www.green-brunei.com/portrayal-of-a-unique-book-and-web-portal-on-biodiversity-and-sustainable-development/

Please share this slide show to raise awareness on the issue.

More work at www.bluestrike-group.com

Sylvain Richer de Forges

Published in: Environment

The Diversity of Life on Earth from heritage to extinction E-book by sylvain richer de forges. A holistic view of life on Earth and sustainable development. (www.bluestrike-group.com)

  1. 1. The Diversity of Life on Earth from Heritage to Extinction e-book version by Sylvain Richer de Forges © Sylvain Richer de Forges 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  2. 2. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 2 This book aims to address the dramatic issue of extinction of species on Earth. In its unique format, it navigates through key issues surrounding the concept of biodiversity: -What do we know -The diversity of life forms on Earth -Where most life forms are found -The human impacts -The current status of extinction -The potential of preserving biodiversity and its implication for human civilizations -What should be tried to preserve the diversity of life on Earth This book was written in 2010 to celebrate the international year on biodiversity and with a purpose of raising awareness on the issue. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Prologue Prologue Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg This e-book is a simplified adaptation from the book of the same name which can be purchased through main book sale channels ISBN 978-981-07-3457-2
  3. 3. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 3 Introduction of knowledge is contained within species whether it is for engineering applications, agriculture or to develop new medicines. We also know that our lives, as the human species, is highly related to those of other species upon which we depend should it be for maintaining the stability of Earth ecosystems, our food supplies or our health. Every organism has its role to play in the complex Earth ecosystems which have reached equilibrium over millions of years. Many of these ecosystems are on the verge of collapse with often unknown consequences for humans. We however now know what the pressures are and therefore could do something to try to preserve the diversity of life on Earth by limiting or suppressing these pressures. This book intends to provide an overview of the diversity of life, what is at stake, the major pressures on life forms and what could be done to avoid what many experts predict will be the fifth massive extinction. We must keep in mind that : “Extinction is forever” With 2010 being the international year of biodiversity, this book comes at a good time to make an overview of the state of our knowledge on biodiversity and what is at stake. Biodiversity is still, even in the 21st century following the legacy of the work of great scientists and breakthrough discoveries, not well understood by the general public and decision makers. Indeed, we still do not seem to have understood the incredible heritage that we have as a result of more than 3.5 billion years of natural history, neither the very serious threats and devastating changes to biodiversity that are occurring at present as a consequence of human activities. Biodiversity is the most valuable resource of our planet and we are on the verge of losing most of it. During the 21st century as a result of a combine impact of pressures from pollutions, human disturbances and climate change, most experts have warned that we could lose half of all the species inhabiting our planet by the end of this century. Species are disappearing at an alarming rate and much faster than they are studied. We know that a tremendous amount © Sylvain Richer de Forges Introduction Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  4. 4. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 4 Table of Content (1) Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Introduction Chapter II ………………………………………… 34 II.1 Definition of Biodiversity ……………………………… 35 II.2 Levels of Biodiversity …………………………………… 37 II.3 Biodiversity: What Do We Know? ………………… 38 II.4 Taxonomy Vs Molecular phylogeny ……………… 42 II.5 Speciation & Adaptation ……………………………… 44 II.6 The Tree of Life …………………………………………… 47 II.7 Archea …………………………………………………………… 48 II.8 Bacteria ………………………………………………………… 49 II.9 Eucaryotes …………………………………………………… 50 II.10 Plants …………………………………………………………… 52 II.11 Fungus ………………………………………………………… 53 II.12 Animals ………………………………………………………… 55 II.13 Insects ………………………………………………………… 57 II.14 Mammals ……………………………………………………… 61 II.15 Reptiles ……………………………………………………… 63 Conclusion Chapter II ………………………………………… 65 Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Introduction Chapter I ………………………………………… 11 I.1 Succession of Life Forms Overtime ……………… 12 I.2 Ancient Life …………………………………………………… 13 I.3 Fossils: an Historical Record ………………………… 14 I.4 Rise of Natural history: Buffon ……………………… 16 I.5 Nomenclature System: Linneaus …………………… 17 I.6 Naming Species ……………………………………………… 18 I.7 Taxonomy Vs Phylogeny ………………………………… 19 I.8 Natural Selection: Darwin & Wallace …………… 21 I.9 The Rise of the Microscope …………………………… 23 I.10 Micro-organisms: Pasteur …………………………… 24 I.11 Commerce and Biodiversity: Spice Trade …… 25 I.12 The Era of Great Explorers ………………………… 26 I.13 Origin of Genetics: Gregor Mendel ……………… 29 I.14 The Discovery of DNA …………………………………… 30 I.15 The Modern Concept of Biodiversity …………… 31 Conclusion Chapter I …………………………………………… 32 © Sylvain Richer de Forges Table of Content Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  5. 5. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 5 Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Introduction Chapter III ……………………………………… 67 III.1 Rainforests ………………………………………………… 68 III.2 Coral Reefs ………………………………………………… 69 III.3 Mangroves …………………………………………………… 71 III.4 Isolated Ecosystems …………………………………… 72 III.5 Abyssal Environments ………………………………… 74 III.6 Sea Grass Beds …………………………………………… 77 Conclusion Chapter III ………………………………………… 78 Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Introduction Chapter IV ……………………………………… 80 IV.1 Deforestation ……………………………………………… 81 IV.2 Mining ………………………………………………………… 84 IV.3 Over Fishing ……………………………………………… 86 IV.4 Illegal Trading of Species …………………………… 92 IV.5 Agriculture ………………………………………………… 93 IV.6 Bio-engineering ………………………………………… 96 IV.7 Industrialization & Associated Wastes ……… 97 IV.8 Pollution & Biodiversity ……………………………… 98 IV.9 Climate Change & Biodiversity ………………… 101 IV.10 Human Disturbances / Overpopulation …… 107 IV.11 Mass Tourism …………………………………………… 110 IV.12 Forest Fires ……………………………………………… 112 IV.13 Fragmentation of Habitats ……………………… 114 IV.14 Genetic Resources …………………………………… 116 IV.15 Introduction of Species …………………………… 118 Conclusion Chapter IV ……………………………………… 120 Table of Content (2) © Sylvain Richer de Forges Table of Content Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  6. 6. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 6 Chapter V: A Few Case Studies of Biodiversity Degradation Introduction Chapter V ……………………………………… 122 V.1 Case Study: Oil Spills ………………………………… 123 V.2 Case Study: Mining ……………………………………… 127 V.3 Case Study: Acid Rains ……………………………… 128 V.4 Case Study: Chernobyl ……………………………… 129 V.5 Introduction of Species ……………………………… 130 V.6 Biodiversity & Climate Change …………………… 132 V.7 Global Biodiversity Loss ……………………………… 133 Conclusion Chapter V ………………………………………… 136 Chapter VI: Global State of Biodiversity Introduction Chapter VI …………………………………… 138 VI.1 The Global Living Planet Index ………………… 139 VI.2 The Terrestrial Living Planet Index …………… 140 VI.3 The Marine Living Planet Index ………………… 141 VI.4 The Freshwater Living Planet Index ………… 142 VI.5 The World Biocapacity ……………………………… 144 VI.6 State of Biodiversity ………………………………… 145 Conclusion Chapter VI ……………………………………… 146 Table of Content (3) © Sylvain Richer de Forges Table of Content Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  7. 7. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 7 Chapter VII: Biodiversity Hotspots and Conservation Priorities Introduction Chapter VII …………………………………… 148 VII.1 What is a Biodiversity Hotspot? ………………… 149 VII.2 Case Study: Madagascar …………………………… 151 VII.3 Case Study: Philippines …………………………… 152 VII.4 Case Study: Borneo ………………………………… 154 VII.5 Case Study: Barrier reefs ………………………… 155 VII.6 Case Study: The Galapagos ……………………… 157 Conclusion Chapter VII ……………………………………… 158 Chapter VIII: Singapore, an Interesting Case Study Introduction Chapter VIII …………………………………… 160 VIII.1 The Singapore Context …………………………… 161 VIII.2 Impacts of Urban Development on Biodiversity ……………………………………………… 163 VIII.3 Vision of a Green City ……………………………… 165 VIII.4 Preserving & Restoring Biodiversity in Singapore ………………………………………………… 168 VIII.5 Singapore Remaining Bio-Diverse Locations ………………………………………………… 169 VIII.6 Biodiversity in the City …………………………… 173 VIII.7 Compromises between Development & Conservation …………………………………………… 177 Conclusion Chapter VIII ……………………………………… 178 Table of Content (4) © Sylvain Richer de Forges Table of Content Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  8. 8. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 8 Chapter IX: The Importance of Biodiversity Preservation for Human Beings Introduction Chapter IX …………………………………… 180 IX.1 Biodiversity and Pharmacology ………………… 181 IX.2 Biodiversity and Agriculture ……………………… 185 IX.3 Biodiversity and the Arts …………………………… 188 IX.4 Socio Biology ……………………………………………… 190 IX.5 Biomimetics ……………………………………………… 191 IX.6 A Guide to Biomimetics …………………………… 194 IX.7 We Have A Lot to Learn by Studying Nature ……………………………………………………… 199 Conclusion Chapter IX ……………………………………… 206 Chapter X: What Can be Done to Preserve Biodiversity? Introduction Chapter X …………………………………… 208 X.1 What Can Individuals Do? …………………………… 209 X.2 What Can Corporates Do? …………………………… 213 X.3 What Can Governments Do? ……………………… 216 X.4 Education and Biodiversity ………………………… 223 X.5 The Concept of Sustainable Development … 226 X.6 The Concept of Dead Zones ……………………… 227 X.7 Vertical Farms …………………………………………… 228 X.8 City Biodiversity Index ………………………………… 229 X.9 Sustainable Urban Design …………………………… 230 X.10 Greening Cities ………………………………………… 232 X.11 Eco Tourism ……………………………………………… 234 Conclusion Chapter X ………………………………………… 237 Table of Content (5) © Sylvain Richer de Forges Table of Content Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  9. 9. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 9 Chapter XI: Common Misunderstandings about Biodiversity XI.1 Questions and Answers ……………………………… 239 XI.2 A Common Interest: Biodiversity and Religions …………………………………………………… 246 General Conclusion ………………………………………… 248 Annex Bibliography ……………………………………………………… 250 Acknowledgments ……………………………………………… 261 About the Author ……………………………………………… 262 Table of Content (6) © Sylvain Richer de Forges Table of Content Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  10. 10. A living fossil: Gymnocrinus richeri Chapter I A Brief History of Natural Diversity How a few key persons and discoveries have changed our vision of life on Earth
  11. 11. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 11 Our knowledge of biology and the diversity of life on Earth has significantly improved over the past century. This chapter intends to highlight the key elements in the discovery of species and our understanding of the living world. Some key findings such as the process of natural selection; the discovery of DNA or the Linnaeous nomenclature system have permitted remarkable breakthrough in our understanding of the living world. Today, many key findings have led to entire new disciplines of biology such as evolutionary biology, molecular biology, behavioral biology, ecology or zoology. Introduction Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity In this chapter you will learn about key historical dates and discoveries which have led to the current understanding of life forms on Earth. Biology in general is a complex field. Many breakthrough discoveries that have occurred in the past where made by accident while investigating other aspects. It is likely that further breakthrough will be made in a similar way. Therefore the importance of persevering in scientific research efforts. The problem with scientific research is that it works on funding basis. However, in any real fundamental research we do not really know what it is that we are searching for, despite that there is certainly something to be found. Because funds are allocated on specific targets basis, fundamental research is disappearing and at the same time the chances of making real breakthrough discoveries. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  12. 12. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 12 I.1 Succession of Life Forms Over Time Life forms have evolved over time. Numerous factors have played a role in the history of the successions of life forms on Earth. Major geological eras have been identified. Many of them mark a mass species extinction event or the apparition of new life forms. The succession of life forms in the fossil record have in fact served to define geological eras (“zoic”). From fossil observations made in the geological record we know that life on Earth has existed for at least 3.5 billion years and that many successions of life forms have occurred throughout time. Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  13. 13. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 13 Life originated on Earth between 3.5 and 4 billion years ago. 4 billion years ago the Earth was very different than it is today. The atmosphere contained no oxygen. It was a mixture of nitrogen and carbon dioxide with traces of other gases such as methane and ammonia. Under such conditions, there were probably no life. The earliest fossils of living organisms are dated (using carbon isotopes) at 3.5 billion years old from Western Australia. They resemble present day cyanobacteria and were probably photosynthetic. Very early on (about 3 billion years ago), life diversified into two major domains, Bacteria and Archea. A third domain, the Eukarya originated 1.3 billion years later. Life has evolved overtime through a series of steps. The steps can be very briefly summarized as follows: - The apparition of simple cells - Cells became more complex - RNA then DNA developed as the support of the genome - Complication and differentiation of species overtime through natural selection This long natural history which started about 3.5 billion years ago has resulted in the incredible diversity of life that we observe today. However, we are only observing today a small fraction of all the life forms that have existed on Earth as most species have become extinct over time through natural events and during critical periods which have led to mass extinctions. Many scientists agree that we are now experiencing a new era of mass species extinction which is for the first time in history almost entirely the result of one single species (humans). I.2 Ancient Life © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  14. 14. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 14 Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of animals, plants, and other organisms from the remote past. Fossils are formed when animal remains are deposited on sedimentary substrates (e.g. mud). Fossils range in age from the youngest at the start of the Holocene Epoch to the oldest from the Archaean Eon several billion years old. Fossils vary in size from microscopic, such as single bacterial cells only one micrometer in diameter, to gigantic, such as dinosaurs and trees. Most of the knowledge that we have of ancient life that has inhabited the planet results from the study of fossils. I.3 (a) Fossils: an Historical Record of Succession of Life Forms © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  15. 15. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 15 I.3 (b) The fossil record provides a snapshot of the types and successions of life forms that inhabited the planet millions of years ago throughout the geological eras. The oldest fossils found can be dated at 3.5 billion years old. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  16. 16. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 16 Buffon is considered to be one of the main precursors in the field of natural history. Georges- Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (7 September 1707-16 April 1788) was a French naturalist, mathematician, biologist, cosmologist and a writer. His theories have influenced two generations of naturalists among whom Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck and Charles Darwin. Buffon is mostly known for his major work which was published in 36 volumes from 1749 to 1789. He included all the knowledge of the time in the field of natural sciences. In this publication, he revealed a resemblance between man and apes and the possibility of a common genealogy. Buffon is also considered to be one of the precursors of comparative anatomy. I.4 The Field of Natural History: George Louis Leclerc, comte de Buffon Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  17. 17. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 17 Carl Linnaeus (23rd May 1707- 10 Jan 1778) was a Swedish naturalist who has set the basis for the modern system of binomial nomenclature. He his referred to as the father of modern Taxonomy Linnaeus has put into place his system of binomial nomenclature which allows referring with precision to all species of animal and vegetal The system is based on a combination of 2 Latin names which comprises of: A name for the Genus A specific character which often relates to a characteristic of the species. This nomenclature system is still widely used and accepted today by Taxonomists. I.5 Linnaeus & the Origin of Species Nomenclature Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  18. 18. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 18 I.6 Naming Species Nomenclature is very important. All species need to have a name in order to be referred to. The naming of species has become a very useful and reliable process with the implementation of the Linnaeous nomenclature. Each species name is formed out of Latin and has two parts: the genus name and the species name. For example, Homo sapiens is the name of the human species. Names are often derived from ancient Greek word roots, or words from numerous other languages. Frequently species names are based on the surname of a person, such as a well-regarded scientist, or are a Latinized version of a relevant place name. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  19. 19. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 19 Taxonomy: Taxonomy is the science of species classification within their evolutionary history. Phylogenetics: Today, the alternative to the traditional rank-based biological classification is phylogenetic systematics, which is postulating phylogenetic trees, rather than focusing on taxa to delimit. Taxonomy is based on the principle that we need to study species in order to understand how they have evolved overtime and how all species are connected to one another. I.7 (a) Taxonomy and Phylogeny © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  20. 20. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 20 I.7 (b) Studying species requires to keep specimens in alcohol so that their anatomy and key features can be preserved, looked into and serve as reference over time for comparison purposes. Collections of the British Museum preserved rare specimens, some of them from the private Charles Darwin’s collections. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  21. 21. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 21 Charles Darwin (12 feb 1809-19 april 1882) was an English naturalist who’s work on the evolution of living species. He has revolutionized the field of biology. Darwin was famous by the scientific community of his time for his field work and his researches. He has formulated the hypothesis that all living species have evolved over time from common ancestors through a process referred to as natural selection. His theory on natural selection had to wait until the 1930’s for it to become generally accepted as the driving mechanisms of the evolution process. Darwin’s scientific discovery remains the foundation of modern biology as it explains in a logical and unified way the diversity of life on Earth. I.8 (a) Natural Selection: Charles Darwin Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  22. 22. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 22 Alfred Russel Wallace (8 Jan 1823-7 Nov 1913) was a naturalist, geographer, explorer, anthropologist and a British biologist. He is the co-discoverer of the evolution theory by natural selection along with Charles Darwin. Wallace is mostly known to have proposed a theory on natural selection which has pushed Darwin to publish his own theory. Wallace was also one of the main evolutionary thinkers of the 19th century which has contributed to the evolution theory mostly on the basis of colour displays in animals. Wallace was also considered as an expert in the field of geographic repartition of animal species and is referred to as the father of biogeography. I.8 (b) Natural Selection: Alfred Russel Wallace Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  23. 23. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 23 The first microscope to be developed was the optical microscope, although the original inventor is not easy to identify. An early microscope was made in 1590 in Middelburg, Netherlands. The greatest contribution which has led to modern day microscopes came from Antoine van Leeuwenhoek. Van Leeuwenhoek is mostly known for the ameliorations he made to the microscope and is one of the precursors of modern cell biology and microbiology. Throughout his life, he made a number of significant observations with his home-made microscopes which he reported to the London Royal Society. One of his earlier observations was on moulds and bee darts. Among others he first observed and discovered Bacteria, Spermatozoids, flow of blood in capillaries and muscle fibres. Many of his observations and deductions at the time where controversial as they went against the general belief of “Spontaneous Generation”. => The use of the microscope has been a revolution in significantly broadening our vision of the natural world and our understanding of the biodiversity of life on Earth. Species of the macro level could now be observed. I.9 The Rise of the Microscope Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  24. 24. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 24 I.10 Pasteur and Micro-Organisms Louis Pasteur (27 December 1822-28 September 1895) was a French scientist, chemist and physicist by formation who then became a pioneer of microbiology. He has achieved remarkable breakthroughs in the causes and preventions of diseases such as puerperal fever, and he created the first vaccine for rabies and anthrax. His experiments supported the germ theory of disease. He has investigated a method to stop milk and wine from causing sickness, a process that came to be called pasteurization. Pasteur also made many discoveries in the field of chemistry, most notably the molecular basis for the asymmetry of certain crystals. =>The discoveries of Pasteur further enhanced our understanding and discovery of how bio-diverse the micro world is but also how the observation of nature can lead to remarkable breakthroughs and applications that can benefit humans, a field now referred to as biomimetics. Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  25. 25. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 25 The commercial value of biodiversity came apparent during the period of great explorations. The commerce of exotic spices as well as the trade of exotic animals where major commerce trades at the time (and still remain). During that time it became rapidly apparent that trading species would play a major part of the world economy. This is still valid today, the trade of species account for one of the largest economical trades worldwide. => At the time, the amount of trade was manageable. However, as the trade expended (beyond spices) and the world population grew, the trade of species is today a major drive of species extinction as these exploitations go much beyond the populations regeneration rates. I.11 Spice Trade and the Commercial Value of Biodiversity Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  26. 26. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 26 During the 19th century, the quest for exploration and knowledge of the natural world through observations and field studies has led to numerous breakthroughs in our understanding of nature. Field studies remain of crucial importance and should not be replaced by other disciplines. I.12 (a) The Era of Great Explorers Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  27. 27. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 27 The expedition of the Challenger was the first great oceanographic worldwide mission. It was realized aboard the HMS Challenger between December 1872 and May 1876. The ship travelled more than 120 000 km around the world. The main goal of the mission was to study marine animals and to understand the circulation of currents. The mission resulted in a major report. One of the outcomes was the discovery of 4000 unknown species of animals. The challenger expedition was a remarkable breakthrough in the discovery of species. => Such expedition model demonstrated that a lot of knowledge can be gained at once if the resources and efforts are allocated for this purpose. I.12 (b) The Expedition of the Challenger Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  28. 28. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 28 I.12 (c) The great explorations of the 17th and 18th century have brought an incredible amount of knowledge. As a result of these explorations we came to realize how bio-diverse the world is. As a consequence the world also came to realize the commercial benefits of exploiting biodiversity. Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  29. 29. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 29 Johann Gregor Mendel (22 July 1822-6 January 1884) was a monk and a Tchek Botanist. He his renown as the father of modern genetics. Today a law has been named after him “the Mendel Law’ that defines the way genes are being transmitted from generation to generation. Most of the discoveries of Mendel where made on observations and logical deductions by studying reproduction patterns in peas. => The discovery of genetic principles have led the path to a greater understanding of evolution and a mechanism conducting to the diversity of life on Earth. However a clearer understanding of genetic principles really came with the discovery of DNA in the 20th century. I.13 Origins of Genetics: Gregor Mendel Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  30. 30. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 30 Desoxyribonucleic acid (or DNA) is a molecule present in all living cells that contains all information necessary for the development and function of a given organism. It is also the support for heredity as it is transmitted during reproduction. DNA holds the genetic code and constitute the genome of living organisms. DNA was discovered by James D. Watson and Francis Crick in 1953. By using x-ray diffraction data they were able to propose the double helix or spiral staircase structure of the DNA molecule. => The discovery of DNA led to remarkable breakthrough in our understanding of genetics which also provides a mechanism for the transmission of genes and therefore the diversity of life. I.14 The Discovery of DNA Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  31. 31. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 31 The expression “biological diversity” was first introduced by Thomas Lovejoy in 1980 while the word “biodiversity” itself was invented by Walter G.Rosen in 1985 while preparing the National Forum on Biological Diversity organized by the National Research Council in 1986; the word “biodiversity” first appeared in a publication in 1988 when American Entomologist E.O Wilson accounted for this forum. Edward Osborne Wilson is a current entomologist and biologist renown for his work on evolution and socio-biology. Wilson is the world expert on ants and in particular their utilisation of pheromones as a mean for communication. He has also studied the massive extinctions of the 20th century and their relations with modern society. Edward.O.Wilson. Photo from Jim Harrison 2003 I.15 The Modern Concept of Biodiversity Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  32. 32. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 32 As highlighted in this first chapter, a few key persons and great explorations have led the way to the modern knowledge and on-going researches to gain a better understanding of the natural world that surrounds us. We have come a long way since these early days key discoveries. Despite that great achievements have been realized, the more we study nature, the more we come to understand that we have only just started to learn and exploit the potential that is within the living environment. Despite that many have the misconception that we have already discovered all there is to know, the amount of useful information still remaining to be explored is unmatched and virtually infinite. Overall, it is very apparent that we still know very little about the living environment… Conclusion Chapter I © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter I: A Brief History of Natural Diversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  33. 33. A living fossil: Gymnocrinus richeri Chapter II The Diversity of Life on Earth How incredibly diverse are life forms on Earth
  34. 34. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 34 Introduction Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth This chapter aims to expose how bio-diverse is the world we live in. We, human beings, have inherited a planet which is currently inhabited by an incredible array of life forms resulting from 3.5 billion years of natural history and adaptations. Life forms inhabiting the planet range from large species such as mammals to microscopic organisms such as bacteria. The more we study species the more we discover that we have so far only touched the tip of the iceberg in terms of how complex and bio-diverse is our planet. We are still making remarkable discoveries, for instance finding species in places that we never thought species could survive or discovering links between species which have led to new paths of understanding of the history of life on Earth. The reality is that there is still a lot to be discovered in biology. However, fields of biology such as taxonomy, the science of classifying species within their evolutionary history are disappearing. As species are disappearing at a much greater rate then they are studied, funding for research is now prioritized in conservation. The fact that current species are no longer studied also means that we are losing a tremendous amount of knowledge and potential new ground breaking discoveries, some of which could have direct benefits to humans. An important fact that we have discovered by studying life on Earth is that species are remarkably linked to one another in a complex interaction of food networks and ecosystems. All species play an important role in making the stable yet fragile ecosystems that we observe today. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  35. 35. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 35 Biodiversity is the variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or for the entire Earth. Biodiversity is often used as a measure of the health of biological systems. The biodiversity found on Earth today consist of many millions of distinct biological species, which are the product of nearly 3.5 billion years of evolution. II.1(a): Definition of Biodiversity © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  36. 36. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 36 II.1 (b) Biodiversity is like a web. Living organisms on the planet are connected and interrelated. Every organism has a role to play in a complex network of ecosystems. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  37. 37. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 37 II.2 Levels of Biodiversity There are different levels at which biodiversity can be found: -At the ecosystem level -At the species level -At the genes level => Species are interconnected in space and time => The vast majority of all species that have inhabited our planet have become extinct overtime © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  38. 38. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 38 II.3 (a) Biodiversity: what do we know? There are relatively only very few people worldwide who are doing scientific studies on species. Taxonomy: The science of species classification requires a high level of expertise which is in decline worldwide (Each group of species requires experts to study and understand them). Species are in fact disappearing at a much faster rate then they are studied. We are losing hundreds if not hundreds of thousands of species each year. Species that we never had the chance to study and understand. Most of these are small or micro organisms. =>The public knowledge of biodiversity loss is not understood as most institutions which classify biodiversity loss tend to focus on the well known mega fauna (tigers, elephants, rhinos…) but barely mention the much smaller organisms which often have a much greater role to play in ecosystems equilibrium. Well known mega fauna Poorly known or unknown small and micro fauna © Sylvain Richer de Forges © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  39. 39. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 39 II.3 (b) Most species on Earth are very small in size for us humans. One has to look and search closely to find them. When comparing ourselves to all living species on Earth, humans are truly “giants”. Despite that most attention is on emblematic species (tigers, elephants…) the hidden macro world of biodiversity has a very important role to play and remains largely unknown. => Biodiversity mostly concerns the macro level in terms of species number. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  40. 40. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 40 II.3 (c) Biodiversity: what do we know? Another trend in the study of nature is that there is an apparent disequilibrium between the knowledge that we have on different groups of species. Some species with a broader interest from the general public have been well studied such as butterflies, shells, fish, birds, large mammals… While others, usually smaller species, such as bacteria remain largely unknown. Some groups such as insects, fungus or bacteria are also much broader than other groups. The more we study species and try to get a broader view of the diversity of life on Earth, the more we realize that we know in fact very little about the variation of life forms on our planet. Some groups are well studied Others are not… © Sylvain Richer de Forges © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  41. 41. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 41 II.3 (d) While most conservationists focus on the preservation of emblematic species, thousands of unknown species are disappearing every year without being noticed. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  42. 42. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 42 The discovery of DNA and the genetic revolution of the 20th century has driven a drastic change in how species are studied. Taxonomy tends to be replaced by so called “bar coding” of particular genes within species. Each species having its own “Bar code” allows the buildup of a global database of species on Earth based on their genetic code. However, there is a downturn to this process. The “species bar code” would work well if species were studied and identified at the same rhythm as they are scanned. However, this is not the case and we are now building-up large databases of species which we do not know about for the simple reason that they have not been scientifically studied to date (the possession of part of a species genome does not replace studying them). Even more of concern, species are becoming extinct at a much greater rate then they are actually studied, which implies that many of the coded species are likely to be extinct before they have been studied. Studying species implies looking into their anatomy, classifying them within their evolutionary history, studying how they interact with the environment…there is a lot to learn in doing such studies and potential applications which could benefit human beings. II.4 (a) Taxonomy Vs Molecular Phylogeny © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  43. 43. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 43 II.4 (b) In fact, one of the few things that we do know about biodiversity on Earth is that we still know very little… © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  44. 44. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 44 II.5 (a) Speciation and Adaptation Species on the planet have evolved over hundreds of millions of years in response to environmental pressures through the process of evolution by natural selection As such, every species on the planet are marvels of adaptation to given conditions and surrounding environments (they have managed to survive over a very long time due to the fact that adaptations that they have developed has giving them survival advantages) Each species is unique with specific adaptation attributes from which a lot of knowledge and applications for human civilizations could be gained As such, any species becoming extinct results in irreplaceable loss in potential solutions/remedies Furthermore, biodiversity is an important aspect of the beauty of this planet. Lets imagine a world with only a few species left including our own. Such scenario would be devastating for future generations © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  45. 45. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 45 II.5 (b) Due to natural pressures species have evolved to be adapted to their surrounding environment. In this picture a small species of crab from Loyalty Islands (New Caledonia) has camouflaged itself to match the species of algae on which it lives on. This common adaptation gives species the advantage of not being easily noticed by predators. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  46. 46. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 46 Sylvain Richer de Forges II.5 (c) Pressures for survival drives long term adaptation in species. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  47. 47. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 47 II.6 The tree of life. All species on Earth are interrelated. Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  48. 48. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 48 II.7 Archaea The Archaea: are a group of single-celled micro-organisms. They have no cell nucleus or any other organelles within their cells. Three main branches of evolutionary descent are the Archaea, Eukarya and Bacteria. Archaea are further divided into four recognized phyla, but many more phyla may exist. Classifying the Archaea is still difficult, since the vast majority have never been studied in the laboratory and have only been detected by analysis of their nucleic acids in samples from the environment. Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  49. 49. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 49 The bacteria are a large group of unicellular microorganisms. Bacteria are found in every habitat on Earth, growing in soil, acidic hot springs, radioactive waste, water, and deep in the Earth's crust, as well as in organic matter and the live bodies of plants and animals. There are typically 40 million bacterial cells in a gram of soil and a million bacterial cells in a millilitre of fresh water; in all, there are approximately five nonillion bacteria on Earth, forming much of the world's biomass. Bacteria are vital in recycling nutrients, with many steps in nutrient cycles depending on these organisms, such as the fixation of nitrogen from the atmosphere and putrefaction. However, most bacteria have not been characterized, and only about half of the phyla of bacteria have species that can be grown in the laboratory. => We still know very little about bacteria. II.8 Bacteria © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  50. 50. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 50 II.9 (a) Eukaryotes (Plants, Fungi, Animals) A eukaryote is an organism whose cells contain complex structures protected by membranes. The defining membrane-bound structure that sets eukaryotic cells apart from prokaryotic cells is the nucleus, or nuclear envelope, within which the genetic material is carried. Most eukaryotic cells also contain other membrane-bound organelles such as mitochondria, chloroplasts and the Golgi apparatus. Almost all species of large organisms are eukaryotes, including animals, plants and fungi, although most species of eukaryotic protists are micro-organisms. Cell division in eukaryotes is different from that in organisms without a nucleus (prokaryotes). It involves separating the duplicated chromosomes. There are two types of division processes. Mitosis, one cell divides to produce two genetically identical cells. And Meiosis, which is required in sexual reproduction. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  51. 51. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 51 II.9 (b) Biodiversity is the most valuable resource on the planet and yet the least understood… As species are highly adapted to their surrounding environments, each species would require an in depth study to understand the processes involved. Even if every person on the planet was to study one species, we would still have far from a complete understanding of how diverse and complex the living world is. Yet, only a handful of people are making such studies => There is so much more to discover and yet so little allocated resources to do so… © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  52. 52. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 52 II.10 Plants Belonging to the kingdom Plantae, they include familiar organisms such as trees, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses. The scientific study of plants, known as botany, has identified about 350,000 extant species of plants, defined as seed plants, bryophytes, ferns and fern allies. As of 2004, some 287,655 species had been identified, of which 258,650 are flowering and 18,000 bryophytes. “Green plants” obtain most of their energy from sunlight via a process called photosynthesis Aristotle divided all living things between plants (which generally do not move), and animals (which often are mobile to catch their food). In Linnaeus' system, these became the Kingdoms Vegetabilia (later Metaphyta or Plantae) and Animalia (also called Metazoa). Since then, it has become clear that the Plantae as originally defined included several unrelated groups, and the fungi and several groups of algae were removed to new kingdoms © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  53. 53. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 53 II.11 (a) Fungus A fungus is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds, as well as the more familiar mushrooms. The Fungi are classified as a kingdom that is separate from plants, animals and bacteria. One major difference is that fungal cells have cell walls that contain chitin, unlike the cell walls of plants, which contain cellulose. Abundant worldwide, most fungi are inconspicuous because of the small size of their structures, and their cryptic lifestyles in soil, on dead matter, and as symbionts of plants, animals, or other fungi. They may become noticeable when fruiting, either as mushrooms or molds. Fungi perform an essential role in the decomposition of organic matter and have fundamental roles in nutrient cycling and exchange. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  54. 54. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 54 Species are closely interrelated. For instance certain species of insects are only found on one species of plant. If this plant disappears, so will the insect species. Such principle applies to all living organism, the more we study species the more we learn that numerous other species live on or in dependence to one single species. => parasitology is a particular case of these interactions. II.11 (b) The disappearance of only one species can result in the disappearance of many others which depend on it to survive… © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  55. 55. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 55 II.12 (a) Animals Animals are a major group of mostly multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and independently. All animals are also heterotrophs, meaning they must ingest other organisms for sustenance. Most known animal phyla appeared in the fossil record as marine species during the Cambrian explosion, about 542 million years ago. Animals have several characteristics that set them apart from other living things. Most animals are eukaryotic and are multicellular, which separates them from bacteria and most protists. They are heterotrophic. Generally digesting food in an internal chamber, which separates them from plants and algae. They are also distinguished from plants, algae, and fungi by lacking rigid cell walls. All animals are motile. In most animals, embryos pass through a blastula stage, which is a characteristic exclusive to animals. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  56. 56. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 56 II.12 (b) Isolated ecosystems such as caves hold some of the most remarkably adapted species. There is still a lot to be discovered in remote ecosystems… Remote ecosystems can be defined as places which have become isolated from their surrounding environments and which possesses unique environments. Even in the 21st century, many of such ecosystems on Earth, remain virtually unexplored for their inhabiting biodiversity. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  57. 57. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 57 II.13 (a) Insects Insects are a class within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body (head, thorax, and abdomen), three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae. They are among the most diverse group of animals on the planet, include more than a million described species and represent more than half of all known living organisms. The number of extant species is estimated at between six and ten million and potentially represent over 90% of the differing life forms on Earth. Insects may be found in nearly all environments, although only a small number of species occur in the oceans, a habitat dominated by another arthropod group, the crustaceans. The life cycles of insects vary but most hatch from eggs. Insect growth is constrained by the inelastic exoskeleton and development involves a series of molts. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  58. 58. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 58 II.13 (b) Many insects are considered pests by humans. However, we must keep in mind that insects are vital to maintaining healthy ecosystems necessary for humans well being. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  59. 59. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 59 II. 13 (c) Insects Insects that undergo incomplete metamorphosis lack a pupal stage and adults develop through a series of nymphal stages. The higher level relationship of the hexapoda is unclear. Fossilized insects of enormous size have been found from the Paleozoic Era, including giant dragonflies with wingspans of 55 to 70 cm. The most diverse insect groups have coevolved with flowering plants. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  60. 60. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 60 I.13 (d) Insects represent the largest and most diverse animal group on the planet. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  61. 61. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 61 Mammals (formally Mammalia) are a class of vertebrate, air- breathing animals whose females are characterized by the possession of mammary glands while both males and females are characterized by sweat glands, hair and/or fur, three middle ear bones used in hearing, and a neocortex region in the brain. Mammals are divided into three main infraclass taxa depending how they are born. These taxa are: monotremes, marsupials and placentals. Except for the five species of monotremes (which lay eggs), all mammal species give birth to live young. Most mammals also possess specialized teeth, and the largest group of mammals, the placentals, use a placenta during gestation. There are approximately 5,400 species of mammals, distributed in about 1,200 genera, 153 families, and 29 orders. Mammals range in size from the 30–40 millimeter (1- to 1.5- inch) Bumblebee Bat to the 33-meter (108-foot) Blue Whale. II.14 (a) Mammals © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  62. 62. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 62 II.14 (b) Mammals have developed some of the most complex behaviors in the animal kingdom. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  63. 63. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 63 II.15 (a) Reptiles Reptiles, or members of the (Linnaean) class Reptilia, are air-breathing, generally "cold-blooded". Their skin is usually covered in scales or scutes. They are tetrapods (either having four limbs or being descended from four-limbed ancestors) and lay amniotic eggs, in which the embryo is surrounded by a membrane called the amnion. Modern reptiles inhabit every continent with the exception of Antarctica. Four living orders are currently recognized: Crocodilia, Sphenodontia, Squamata and Chelonia. The majority of reptile species are oviparous (egg- laying), although certain species of squamates are capable of giving live birth. This is achieved by either ovoviviparity (egg retention) or viviparity (birth of offspring without the development of calcified eggs). Many of the viviparous species feed their fetuses through various forms of placenta analogous to those of mammals, with some providing initial care for their hatchlings. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  64. 64. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 64 II.15 (b) Reptiles have adapted remarkably to the most hostile environments. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  65. 65. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 65 As presented in this chapter, species on Earth are incredibly diverse. However, despite that main types of life forms have been identified and can be recognized, most of the diversity occurs between species. Despite that individual species within a group have common features, they also possess very different traits and adaptations which accounts for the diversity. While we are now starting to get a good understanding of the common traits in groups of species, adaptations at the species level remains virtually unknown. => Every species is unique. Conclusion Chapter II © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter II: The Diversity of Life on Earth Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  66. 66. A living fossil: Gymnocrinus richeri Chapter III Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems How the vast majority of the diversity of life on Earth is found in only a few ecosystems
  67. 67. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 67 Introduction Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems This chapter aims to highlight the fact that most biodiversity on the planet is present within a few ecosystems. Despite that diverse forms of life can be found in almost any environment on the planet, the vast majority of the species are concentrated within specific ecosystems and also in specific locations of the planet which are known to inhabit more species. Oceans where life originated in the first place remain one of the most bio-diverse environments on the planet. However, surprisingly we still know relatively very little about the life in our oceans, especially at greater depths as these environments remain almost unexplored to date. The second mega bio-diverse environment are tropical rainforests which inhabit a remarkable diversity of species, much of which remains totally un-accounted for. There is however a concerning aspect relative to the fact that most of biodiversity on Earth is concentrated within these two ecosystems: both are in critical state as a result of anthropic pressures from aspects such as deforestation, over-exploitation and climate change. The important point here is that we need to preserve ecosystems in order to preserve species. If forests and marine ecosystems collapse, this will result in enormous losses of biodiversity. At the current rate of deforestation, there will be little left of natural forests by as soon as 2030. We also know that most biodiversity in the oceans is concentrated within shallow waters. However, as global warming is taking its toll, we also know that it is likely that surface temperatures will increase by at least 2 degrees by the end of the century. Under such scenario, most coral reefs will not survive. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  68. 68. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 68 III.1 Rainforests Rainforests are one of the main biodiversity rich ecosystems of the planet. Rainforests are mostly found in tropical and subtropical regions. The largest rainforests include the Amazon in South America as well as in the island of Borneo in South East Asia. Both of these examples are critically threatened from massive deforestation which has reached alarming rates. At the current rate of deforestation, these rainforests which hold most of the worlds biodiversity could be gone as soon as 2030. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  69. 69. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 69 III.2 (a) Coral Reefs Reefs are one of the most bio-diverse ecosystems on the planet. They are mostly found in tropical and subtropical regions. Reefs are critical to the equilibrium of oceanic life as they hold many of the food supplies for other marine life. Reefs are facing a rising amount of pressures mostly from anthropic origins as a result of overfishing, global warming, sea and land based pollution as well as development. A collapse of reef ecosystems would have dramatic consequences on the rest of marine ecosystems which rely on coral reefs to survive. Reef remain a primary source of food and an ecosystem upon many human civilizations rely on for their survival. The loss of coral reefs will also result in major social issues. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  70. 70. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 70 III.2 (b) Under current climate change negotiations, it is very likely that average global temperatures will exceed 2 degrees Celcius by 2100. Accepting a 2 degree warmer world is accepting that we have already scarified most coral reefs around the world which will not be able to cope with such a rapid change © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  71. 71. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 71 III.3 Mangroves Mangroves are another bio-diverse ecosystem mostly found in tropical and subtropical regions. Mangroves play an important role as a feeding ground for migratory birds. Due to the salty or semi-salty conditions found in mangroves, a very specific flora has adapted to such conditions. To this particular flora and environment, very specific and diverse life forms have also adapted making mangroves an important feeding ground for many species. In addition, mangroves play a critical role in coastal health by providing a filtering and physical barrier to coastal erosion. Mangroves are disappearing around the world as a combination of deforestation, coastal development and global warming. They are also under threat from overfishing. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  72. 72. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 72 Because they have become isolated at some point in time over the last few million years, many ecosystems on the planet have developed a biodiversity which is unique from its surounding environment. Such examples of biodiverse isolated ecosystems include small island states like the Galapagos or New Caledonia as well as isolated areas within continents such as an isolated mountain top, a lake or any other area which for some reason has become isolated from its surrounding. Such ecosystems can be different from their surrounding for reasons such as a micro-climate, a particular soil/flora or a unique feature. =>The surrounding environment often shapes the diversity of the species inhabiting within. III.4 (a) Isolated Ecosystems © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  73. 73. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 73 Isolated ecosystems, case study: seamounts Seamounts are mountains found under the sea. The study of these mounts shows that they are very rich in biodiversity especially in tropical and sub-tropical areas. Studies also show that these mounts are often isolated ecosystems as the fauna found on one seamount can be very different than another seamount even when located nearby one another. III.4 (b) Seamounts are isolated ecosystems rich in biodiversity. Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  74. 74. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 74 III.5 (a) The Abyss The abyss refers to the deep sea at depth below 2000 m. We know very little about the abyss for the reason that it is very difficult to reach due to physical constraints. However, some remarkable isolated ecosystems have been found at great dephts such as hydrothermal vents around which very biodiverse and unique life forms have adapted. The difficullty to reach these depths is an obstacle to our exploration. The more we will have access to the abyss, the more we will discover. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  75. 75. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 75 III.5 (b) We know more about our solar system then we do about life in the deep oceans of our own planet! Our knowledge of life in the deeper parts of the oceans remains largely unknown to date. The main reason is the extreme technological difficulties of reaching these depths which is comparable to going into outer space. The other reason is that many deep sea species are likely to be very “shy” and sensitive to light sources. Therefore, most of the life is likely to be scared away by the powerful lights of submersibles. It is likely that we have yet not seen even the tip of the iceberg of the diversity of deep sea life. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  76. 76. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 76 III.5 (c) Deep Water Thermal Vents For long it was believed that all life forms on Earth derived their energy from photosynthesis by utilizing energy from the Sun. However, the discovery of deep sea vents and the understanding of the life forms living around them shows that organisms in these ecosystems are relying on Sulphur chemistry and thermal energy from the core of the earth rather than direct sun energy. Such discovery also gives hope that life forms on other planets may exist. Such life forms are another example of how life can evolve and adapt to very hostile and particular conditions. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  77. 77. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 77 III.6 Seagrass Beds Seagrasses form extensive beds or meadows and can be either made up of one species or be multispecific. In temperate areas, usually one or a few species dominate, whereas tropical beds usually are more diverse, with up to thirtheen species recorded in the Philippines. Seagrass beds are highly diverse and productive ecosystems, and can harbor hundreds of associated species from all phyla. Seagrass herbivory is a highly important link in the food chain, with hundreds of species feeding on seagrasses worldwide, including green turtles, dugongs, manatees, fish, geese, swans, sea urchins and crabs. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  78. 78. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 78 Conclusion Chapter III As presented in this chapter, most of the diversity of life forms on Earth can be found in only a few mega diverse locations. Most of these locations are located in the tropic and sub-tropic regions. Furthermore, among all ecosystems on Earth, rainforests and barrier reefs are by far the most diverse environments in terms of biodiversity. Sadly, both of the latest ecosystems are amongst the most threatened from human activities. While rainforest are disappearing at alarming rates through deforestation and reconversion of lands, climate change is expected to take an heavy toll on reefs around the world throughout the century. However, despite that the vast majority of life on Earth can be found in these few ecosystems, species can surprisingly be found in almost any environments on the planet ranging from hot springs to the coldest places. Micro-organisms are especially incredibly diverse in almost any given environments. Often species which are found in isolated and poor ecosystems in terms of biodiversity have been able to survive through unique adaptations which have provided these species highly competitive advantages over other species which for most have not survived. If the objective is to save as many species as possible, then most of conservation efforts should be focused on tropical and subtropical regions and in particular rainforests. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter III: Main Biodiversity Rich Ecosystems Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  79. 79. A living fossil: Gymnocrinus richeri Chapter IV Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity How humans have drastically changed the balance of life on Earth
  80. 80. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 80 Introduction Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity This chapter aims to focus on the pressures exerted on biodiversity as a direct impact of human influences. Humans have a tremendous impact on other species on the planet should it be from direct impacts (e.g. Human food consumption) or indirect impacts as a result of our activities (e.g. mining, industrialization, pollutions…). As the human population rapidly grows, the pressures imposed on natural ecosystems and species are enormous and resulting in numerous species extinctions. It is estimated that species are disappearing at least 1000 times the natural rate. While some of the impacts are only felt locally where the disturbance occurs, a more concerning trend now becoming a reality is that, as a result of intense pollution worldwide, ecosystems are becoming saturated on a global scale which could well lead to massive extinctions in a near future. Pollution of oceans is one example of such large scale disturbance. Plastic residues for instance are now found in almost any location on the planet even in the most remote areas. Such residues are incorporated into food chains and can even be monitored in species themselves. The most significant impact that humans are causing to global biodiversity will be a consequence of global warming as a result of industrialization and the addition of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels. Under current climate negotiations the rise in temperature alone will with certainty cause a wave of massive biodiversity loss onto which pollution issues will add on. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  81. 81. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 81 IV.1 (a) Deforestation Deforestation is one of the major threats to biodiversity. Forests and especially rainforests of equatorial and subtropical regions hold some of the Earth richest ecosystems. Deforestation has however been increasing significantly over the past decades to the point where it has now reached alarming rates and associated species loss. The island of Borneo forests as well as the Amazon are losing tremendous superficies of forest each year due to logging activities mostly for the construction and paper industry. Significant deforestation has also been rising in recent years in relation to agriculture and the plantation of monocultures for biofuels. Deforestation has devastating effects on the rich biodiversity that these ecosystems hold by destroying habitats of numerous species and destabilizing the food chains resulting in the collapse of the ecosystems. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  82. 82. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 82 Forests are vanishing around the world at an alarming rate. Forests provide habitats for numerous species. As forests disappear so is the biodiversity that inhabits within. IV.1 (b) There are very few primary forests left in the world and most of them are critically endangered. Most of these forests are only present in national parks and in areas where human development has not intensified. Once destroyed, a forest is either lost or will take thousands of years to recover. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  83. 83. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 83 Many still have the misconception that because land is covered by “green” vegetation such as common grass species, we are preserving biodiversity. This concept is wrong, if one species disappears so are many other species which depend on it to survive. => Preserving a diversity of plant species is crucial for preserving biodiversity of other life forms. IV.1 (c) Replacing natural forests with planted monocultures is a major threat to biodiversity… © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  84. 84. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 84 IV.2 (a) Mining Mining activities are rapidly expending around the world due to the rising demand in metals and other resources. The sole activity of mining can have devastating effects on biodiversity, especially in isolated ecosystems and bio- diverse areas. Examples of mining activities which are putting severe pressures on the biodiversity and ecosystems can be found in areas such as Indonesia, Madagascar or New Caledonia which are all classified as biodiversity hotspots. Terrestrial biodiversity is most concentrated in the top upper layer of the soil. Mining activities which completely wipe out the top part of the soil destroys whichever life form and habitats are present. The soil once exposed is easily eroded and carried out to sea impacting reef formations and marine life as well. Mining activities have devastating impacts on the environment and biodiversity in particular, especially in bio-diverse locations. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  85. 85. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 85 IV.2 (b) Mining is one of the most environmental destructive and unsustainable practices. Especially in biodiversity rich areas. Many mines are located in biodiversity sensitive areas including biodiversity hotspots like Madagascar. These mines have devastating impacts resulting from the installation of the mine (from large scale deforestation to the operation and after life of the mine). The impacts of these mines often extend much beyond the mining area as they require the cutting of roads, heavy machinery and reject numerous toxic compounds into the environment affecting the surrounding environment on a large scale. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  86. 86. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 86 Many nations depend almost entirely on resources from the oceans as a primary food supply. Most of the oceans resources are however harvested extensively by only a few industrialized nations. Fish stocks and other marine resources are harvested far beyond their regeneration ability. At the current rate of fishing, most fish stocks will be extinct by mid-century. Adoption of sustainable fishing practices respectful of species reproductive rate is crucial in order to avoid the collapse of most marine ecosystems. Fish should be harvested from farming rather than the oceans. However the current aquaculture practices are far from sustainable. IV.3 (a) Over Fishing © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  87. 87. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 87 The replacement of traditional local fishing with international industrial fishing has devastating effects on the worlds marine species. At the current rate It is estimated that most large commercial fish species will be extinct by 2040. IV.3 (b) Traditional fishing methods have been replaced by industrialized and more productive fishing practices. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  88. 88. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 88 IV.3 (C) As industrial fishing deplates the worlds ocean resources and marine biodiversity, it also creates social problems by depleting the stocks which are no longer available for local communities to feed on… © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  89. 89. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 89 As the top predator in the oceans, Sharks play a very important role in maintaining ecosystems stability. Worldwide, populations of sharks are seriously pressured from anthropic activities. Most species of sharks are now at serious risks of extinction as a result of overfishing. The process of shark finning is having devastating impacts on shark populations but also on entire ecosystems. Shark fins are mostly collected to be sold as shark fin soup which is considered a delicacy in Asian countries. Sharks have a very slow reproductive rate and only have a few young's in their life time. At the current rate sharks are collected, numerous species of sharks could become extinct within the next 10-20 years. The disappearance or drastic diminution of sharks in the oceans will have devastating effects on the entire marine ecosystem. IV.3 (d) Case study: Sharks, a Critical Problem © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  90. 90. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 90 All Shark species must become protected or they will face extinction within a few decades only… Shark finning is a threat to shark populations worldwide with serious implications for marine ecosystems stability. Shark finning is a very unsustainable practice which should become banned or at least strictly regulated. IV.3 (e) Shark Finning © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  91. 91. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 91 We do not know the full extent or consequences that a sharp diminution or even disappearance of sharks will have on marine ecosystems. We however know that they play a critical role. IV.3 (f) Sharks have been mediatized as a “human killing machine”. It has now been clearly established that such statement is false. Sharks as a top predator play a critical role in maintaining oceans ecosystem stability. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  92. 92. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 92 IV.4 Illegal Trading of Species Illegal trading of endangered species is a growing problem. As species become more and more under threat and on the verge of extinction, the price of such species on the black market keeps on rising. Illegal killing and selling of endangered species has a serious impact on the stability of these fragile populations which in many instances pushes these species to extinction. Examples of species which are valued include tigers, parrots and fish mostly originating from tropical and subtropical regions. while some endangered species are traded as living organisms others such as elephants are killed for the sole purpose of extracting parts of the animals (e.g. Ivory, tiger powder). © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  93. 93. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 93 IV.5 (a) Agriculture Over the past century agriculture has increased dramatically in response to the exponentially growing human population and the need to feed them. In addition to its fast expansion, agriculture has drifted away from traditional practices to highly industrialized and optimized processes. In order to cope with such demand, agriculture has become increasingly dependent on fertilizers and pesticides. The use of genetically engineered plantations is also a rising threat to biodiversity. Species genetically modified, when introduced into the environment, compete with natural species. Agriculture by its nature is also a major threat to biodiversity by spreading monocultures. In order to find the ever increasing space required for agriculture, tremendous spaces of land initially occupied by primary forests and other ecosystems are destroyed removing in the process the diversity of species which in many instances were only found in these specific locations. A growing problem is also the rise of lands used for monoculture plantations destined for biofuel production. This new usage has for consequence to even put more pressure and increase the need for further agricultural lands. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  94. 94. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 94 In order to preserve biodiversity we must find and shift to new food production methods not requiring such extensive land use (e.g. vertical farms?) IV.5 (b) Agriculture is one of the main threats to biodiversity. Worldwide, entire ecosystems are wiped out (such as forests) and reconverted for agricultural purposes which has major implications for biodiversity and has resulted in the loss of numerous species. Today this trend is even pushed further with the need for biofuel crops. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  95. 95. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 95 IV.5 (c) Pesticides used in agriculture can affect animal reproduction adding further pressures on biodiversity. In addition to monocultures land conversion. A very significant amount of pesticides and fertilizers are added to industrial crops. These two elements kill numerous species resulting in significant biodiversity loss going much beyond the crop areas as the substances are transmitted through food chains © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  96. 96. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 96 IV.6 Bio-Engineering Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are a threat to natural species in the environment. The genes within GMO enter in competition with natural genes occurring in the environment. We are uncertain of the impacts that such GMO will have on other species. However, it has been proven that GMO lead to monocultures and mutations within natural species. By introducing GMO into the environment we are risking the loss of naturally occurring species in favor of genetically modified ones. => GMO are a major threat to global biodiversity. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  97. 97. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 97 IV.7 Industrialisation and Associated Waste Since the industrial revolution, the rise of industries of all forms and sectors have been taking place in most nations. This rapid change of activities has driven the rise of very diverse environmental pressures including the generation of very large amounts of chemical wastes and other disturbances such as noise and atmospheric emissions. Pollution generated by all nations has now far exceeded local impacts and effects on a global scale are starting to arise. For instance trace amounts of certain pollutants such as residues of hydrocarbons (e.g. plastic bags) can now be found in any given place on Earth. Such background pollution is putting further pressure on ecosystems around the world which are struggling to adapt and cope with the change in surrounding environment. Usually under natural conditions such changes in the chemistry of the environment occurs over millions of years which permits adaptive changes, however species are unable to adopt to such a rapid change now occurring over several decades only. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  98. 98. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 98 IV.8 (a) Pollution and Biodiversity Pollution is a human created vision of the state of our environment. Without a human vision of the world in which we live, the concept of pollution would simply not exist. Pollution can be seen as an unusual level of a substance which disturbs the surrounding environment and especially biodiversity. Due to industrialization pollution has become one of the greatest threat to global biodiversity. Many species cannot cope with the rapid changes in physical parameters which are occurring to our environment. High levels of pollution results in toxicity. All substances are toxic it all depends on the level of occurrence and to which capacity organisms can tolerate the substance. => We are releasing substances in the environment to such a level that they are becoming toxic to many organisms. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  99. 99. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 99 IV.8 (b) While some substances require large amounts to be toxic to organisms, numerous human made substances have significant impacts on organisms even in very low concentrations. While some substances only stay in the environment for short periods of times, others stay very long. These are the most concerning pollutants as they do not deteriorate and end up entering food chains. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  100. 100. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 100 Eutrophication (or algal bloom) is an increase in the concentration of nutrient content to an extent that it increases the primary productivity of the water body. In other terms, it is the "bloom“ or great increase of phytoplankton in a water body. Negative environmental effects include particularly anoxia, or loss of oxygen in the water with severe reductions in fish and other animal populations. Other species may experience an increase in population that negatively affects other species in the local ecosystem. As pollution (Nitrates & Phosphates) from sources such as agriculture increases, more and more water bodies are experiencing eutrophication which is putting pressure on the biodiversity of these ecosystems. IV.8 (c) Case Study: Eutrophication © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  101. 101. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 101 IV.9 (a) Climate Change and Biodiversity Since the industrial revolution, human activities have added tremendous amounts of green house gases into the atmosphere. By doing so we are changing the composition of the atmosphere which results into the Earth becoming warmer through the action of the greenhouse effect being amplified in the process. One of the consequences of global warming will be to affect biodiversity. Numerous species of plants and animals are already responding to warmer temperatures by moving to higher altitudes or latitudes. Many species unable to adapt or migrate fast enough will however become at increased risk of extinction. Scientists estimate that we could lose half of all species present on the planet today through the impacts of climate change alone by the end of the century. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  102. 102. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 102 IV.9 (b) Climate Change and Biodiversity loss: It is here important to highlight and emphasize on the link between climate change and biodiversity loss. It has taken millions of years for species to adapt to their given ecosystems. During this time numerous changes in the climate system have occurred. However, climate change that we observe today is occurring very fast (as opposed to most geological climate shifts) and is the result of mainly anthropic activities (and therefore could be slowed down) Most species on Earth happen to have adapted to be very sensitive to even slight variations in outside parameters such as air pressure, or ambient temperature. Most scientists have agreed that numerous species will simply not be able to cope with the rise in atmospheric and oceanic temperatures which are predicted under various scenarios (including the most optimistic ones). To further confirm the above, numerous studies on fossils and geological observations have concluded that rapid climate shifts have always resulted in massive species extinction events. If temperatures were to rise by 2 degrees centigrade by 2100 (as predicted under most scenarios) this alone will without doubt result in the loss of a very significant portion of all species present on the Earth today (most still unknown). It makes little sense to act to preserve biodiversity in given ecosystems today but on the other hand to ignore the much greater threat that climate change will have on biodiversity and these ecosystems in the short to medium term. Thus acting to limit the worse impacts of climate change by reducing GHG emissions will also help in preserving species on Earth.. => Maintaining the Earth Climate and preserving biodiversity cannot go without one another. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  103. 103. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 103 The impact of global warming on the oceans biodiversity will be disastrous. As sea level rises and oceans become more acidic due to the absorption of CO2, biodiversity in shallow marine ecosystems will sharply decrease. IV.9 (c) Most experts agree that coral reefs around the world will not be able to survive a 2 degree Celcius rise in atmospheric temperatures. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  104. 104. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 104 IV.9 (d) Coastal ecosystems and their inhabiting biodiversity will be greatly affected as a result of global sea level rise. As sea level rises, large coastal areas will become permanently flooded. In addition, the salty waters will infiltrate further and further inland. Many species of plants and animals will not be able to cope with this change in soil salinity. Sea level rise alone will result in species extinctions… © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  105. 105. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 105 IV.9 (e) The thought of the scale of species extinctions through climate change alone is disturbing. If predictions by the scientific community are correct, almost half of all species present on Earth today will become extinct by 2100 as a sole consequence of increased global temperatures. We must however keep in mind that in addition, there are many other factors which will drive even further species extinctions such as global pollution, habitat destruction…. We could loose half of the world total biodiversity from the impacts of climate change alone by the end of the century. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  106. 106. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 106 IV.9 (f) Climate Change is the most serious threat to global biodiversity loss. At the current rate of warming, the loss of biodiversity as a result of climate change will be disastrous… Despite that deforestation and other threats have already alone very significant and disastrous consequences on biodiversity, climate change will continue to affect all the planet ecosystems at increasing pressures proportional to the rise in ambient temperatures. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  107. 107. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 107 IV.10 (a) Human Disturbances / Population Growth Human population is a major threat to biodiversity. With a current population of near 7 billion people, humans are the main cause of environmental disturbance on the planet which includes major impacts on biodiversity. A control over the growth of the worlds population is inevitable if we want to preserve the diversity of species present on Earth today. © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  108. 108. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 108 IV.10 (b) World Population Predictions World population is expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050. In order to feed a rapidly growing population, agricultural fields are expending exponentially with major impacts on biodiversity. In order to keep up with the demand more land needs to be cultivated, more pollution occurs. This results in more and more pressures put on ecosystems. Humans and human related activities are already the greatest threat to biodiversity. Source: UNEP Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg
  109. 109. The Diversity Of Life On Earth 2010 © Sylvain Richer de Forges. All rights reserved. 109 IV.10 (c) The environment will always be there, preserving our environment is not about preserving the Earth but whether we and future generations want to live in an environment that has suffered the impacts of human activities… © Sylvain Richer de Forges Chapter IV: Anthropic Impacts and Biodiversity Visit the program www.biodiversity.sg

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