Biodiversity: The Variation Of Life Essay

1181 words - 5 pages

Biodiversity can be defined simply as the variety of life. This can exist in a certain habitat, ecosystem, and even among the entire world. Most people may distinguish biodiversity as the species of living organisms which can breed among each other instead of the big picture presented by an entire ecosystem. For example, a local lake has species which interact and have certain connections to each other. There may be several species of plants surrounding the lake. Fish, reptiles, insects, and bacteria will live among each other. Biodiversity can be represented between those species and within each individual species. Species that interact among each other presents ecological biodiversity. While one individual species represents a genetic variety of life. What is the significance of biodiversity and what are the threats to biodiversity?
Biodiversity is important to us as humans and the sustainability of healthy ecosystems. Genetics plays a major role. Genetic diversity allows for the variation of life. This limits and prevents the distribution of disease and assists a species to change or adapt to their environment. Carlson, Kowalski, Wilcox (2009) studied the promotion of species establishment in Phragmites-dominated Great Lakes Coastal Wetland. Specifically in Ohio they found that species diversity of Phragmites (a common reed plant) was promoted by the removal of dead Phragmites biomass; spraying had a significantly greater impact in inundated areas; and ultimately showed a short term benefit in plant community genetic biodiversity of the species. An added example is the genetic structure of the Little Brown Bats-Myotis lucifugus of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Miler-Butterworth, Vonhof, Rosenstern, Turner, and Russel (2014) found that this bat is currently threatened due to white-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease. This disease has caused a significant threat to the health of these species. They showed that the fungal disease was spread by the mitochondrial genetic structure of females and their migration patterns influence the spread of this syndrome through reproduction. The example of the Phragmites plant and M. lucifugus show how genetic diversity plays a role in the biodiversity of the specific species. Also, the effect on biodiversity throughout the ecosystem in which those species live is genetically significant.
Biodiversity allows for ecosystems to adapt to extreme environmental disturbances like floods, and fires. In southern Ohio Huang and Boerner (2008) studied the shifts of morphological traits, seed production of Desmodium nudiflorum after a prescribed fire in combination with forest canopy thinning. They found that the first growing season after a second fire both the burning and burning-thinning combination resulted in increased biomass, individual seed mass, total seed production, but decreased in plant height and leaf area. This shows that even in extreme environmental conditions the species is able to adapt in...

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