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Biodiversity

A Beginner's Guide (revised and updated edition)

Our future is closely tied to that of the variety of life on Earth, and yet there is no greater threat to it than us. From population explosions and habitat destruction to climate change and mass extinctions, John Spicer explores the causes and consequences of our biodiversity crisis. Les mer
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Paperback
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Paperback
Legg i
Vår pris: 128,-

(Paperback)
Leveringstid: Sendes innen 7 virkedager

Om boka

Our future is closely tied to that of the variety of life on Earth, and yet there is no greater threat to it than us. From population explosions and habitat destruction to climate change and mass extinctions, John Spicer explores the causes and consequences of our biodiversity crisis. In this revised and updated edition, he examines how grave the situation has become over the past decade and outlines what we must do now to protect and preserve not just nature's wonders but the essential services that biodiversity provides for us, seemingly for nothing.

Fakta

Innholdsfortegnelse

1 The pandemic of wounded biodiversity



Biodiversity - what was that again?



A long, leisurely trip to La Jolla



Directions







2 Teeming boisterous life



The big picture



The volleyball on Mission Beach



'A rose by any other name'...what's a species?



Morphological species



Identifying species without ever seeing them



Biological species



Evolutionary species



Naming species



How many living species...and what are they?



1) To the nearest approximation (almost) every organism is an arthropod...?



2) Greenery: The Plantae



3) Fungi: Mushrooms, moulds and yeasts - The Fungi



4) Mollusca: Shell life



5) Chordata: Animals with backbones...mostly



6) Protozoa or Protista?



7) Nematoda: The roundworm that's the fly in the ointment?



8) Bacteria and Archaea: Microbial life



Remaining animal groupings



Viruses: All the world's a phage... or nearly



New species



Planting and growing the 'tree of life'



The great chain of being



Linnaeus's hierarchical classification



Influence of evolutionary ideas



Chatton's two-domain idea



Whittaker's five-kingdom approach



Woese and the three-domain model



A new twist to the three-domain model



...and when is a tree a bush?



Designs on life



The phylum and the Bauplan



Most phyla are not very species rich



An unequal distribution of life







3 Where on Earth is biodiversity?



From Berkeley, south to the Sea of Cortez



More is more



Back to Bird Rock



The species-area relationship



Those who go down to the sea in ships



Hotspots: A tale of two definitions



Big-scale biodiversity: Biogeographical and political regions



On land



Sea



Biodiversity by country



Latitude for life?



The land



The sea



Genetic diversity and latitude



Why is there a latitudinal gradient?



Altitude



Lessons from the tops of Scottish mountains



Biodiversity takes the hump with altitude



Mountains as islands?



Aerial plankton and organisms in flight



Depth



The short-lived azoic theory



Out of our depth



A journey to the centre of the Earth



Staying close to home



Congruence: The holy grail of diversity?







4 A world that was old when we came into it: Diversity, deep time and extinction



One every twenty minutes?



A life in the year of...



Precambrian - before life?



A schoolgirl changes our understanding of life before life - but no one believes her



The garden of Ediacara



A world of chemical energy, not driven by sunlight?



How familiar is the Ediacaran fauna?



Explosive Cambrian



Cambrian forms



Archaeocyatha: The only extinct phylum?



Why diversify now?



Cambrian explosion or short fuse?



Cambrian biodiversity: Good designs... or just lucky?



How a small quarry in British Columbia changed our understanding of biodiversity



'It's a Wonderful Life'



To conclude



Post-Cambrian: Tinkering with successful designs?



Palaeozoic - 'first life'



Middle and modern life



The present - not set in stone



Beginnings of evolution: The origin of species



End of evolution: Extinction



The 'big five'



Causes of extinction



Extinctions as routine events in the history of life



Early humans and biodiversity



Extinctions post-1600s



Proving extinction?



The Red Data Book



Other takes on extinction



To conclude







5 Swept away and changed



Threatening behaviour



Living beyond our means



Top five direct (or proximate) causes of biodiversity loss



1) Habitat loss and degradation



2) Direct exploitation



Home economics



Food, glorious food



Industrial materials



Medicine sans frontiers



Ecotourism



Controlling the natural world



3) Climate change



4) Introduced species



The domino effect: Extinction cascades



Some light relief: Complete elimination of biodiversity by extraterrestrial means



The ultimate cause of biodiversity loss: You and me



Once upon a time there were two people...now look how many



Not just population size but where people live



Not just population size but what people do



It's the poor that do the suffering



To conclude







6 Are the most beautiful things the most useless?



'...and for everything else there's Mastercard'



Costing a small planet



Use now, pay when?



What bees do for free is expensive



Costing the Earth - literally



How Biosphere 1 works - as one



Earth, the Goldilocks planet - just right



Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis



Critiques of Gaia



How bits of Biosphere 1 work



Build your own biosphere: Not-so-silent running



The home marine aquarium



Mysteries and hazards



Valuable for what, and to whom?



Keeping options open



Bequest and bequeathal



Full-on philosophers and laid-back religion?



Value bestowed, not intrinsic



Intrinsic value



Valued as an object of worship or through kinship



A creator gives biodiversity value



To conclude







7 Our greatest hazard and our only hope?



Saving private land



Antecedents



Oh, Rio



Large brushstrokes



Louder than words



Arks in parks



Out of place - but alive



Buzzword for the twenty-first century



Responses to Rio



Millennium Assessment



Aichi (2010) and 'Pathway for Humanity' (2015)



Strategic plan for biodiversity and Aichi biodiversity targets



'Pathway for Humanity': UN Sustainable Development Goals (2015)



Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (2019)



Aichi



Target 11: Increasing protected areas



Goal 16: Nagoya protocol in force



Sustainability goals



No room for the individual?



Epilogue







8 No one is too small to make a difference







Going further: Suggestions for wider reading



Index

Om forfatteren

John Spicer is Professor of Marine Zoology at the University of Plymouth. He is co-author of the bestselling textbooks Biodiversity: An Introduction and The Invertebrates.