The Past, Present and Future of Biodiversity
- 8:45 a.m. to 11:30a.m. -
- $10 – $30
- All Ages
From molecules to biomes, biodiversity represents the cumulative biological diversity that has evolved during Earth’s 4.6-billion-year history. It has been estimated 100 million species call Earth home, but less than 2 million have been named so far. Biodiversity provides the raw material for sustaining life through various ecosystem services, including providing clean water, regulating climate and cycling nutrients. Biodiversity is vital to sustaining ecosystems and human well-being through crop pollination, medicine and recreation. Yet it is declining at a rate faster than any time in history, prompting scientists to work more rapidly to address the consequences of such changes. In this two-week forum, Assistant Professor of Biology Daniel Hughes will offer an overview of biodiversity research, from the origins of conservation biology to the contemporary climate and extinction crises. In the first session, we will define biodiversity, discuss what we know about past changes in biodiversity and examine the current state of global biodiversity. The second presentation will explore case studies from around the globe about how biodiversity changes and the conservation efforts that are rescuing species from the brink. Integrating his own research on biodiversity in Central Africa and eastern Iowa, Dr. Hughes will provide a variety of examples and perspectives about the range of threats to biodiversity and the actions that can be taken to conserve species for future generations.