Sustaining the variety of life on Earth
Biodiversity is important to life on Earth and crucial to the sustainable development of human society. This topic covers:
- the evolutionary origins of biodiversity,
- the ways in which scientists study and evaluate biodiversity,
- the importance of biodiversity both to natural ecosystems and to human development
- the threats to biodiversity including excessive exploitation of natural resources, habitat destruction and pollution
- research-based strategies that can be used to conserve and sustain biodiversity.
The main science explanations that feature in this topic are:
- the importance and methods for classifying living organisms, including the use of DNA technologies, and their role in measuring biodiversity
- the characteristics of habitats that are biologically diverse and sustainable
- fossil evidence and what it shows about the variety of life on Earth in the past and the nature of mass extinctions.
How science works
Three main aspects of how science works feature in this topic:
- the collection and validation of scientific data as evidence for change.
- the collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of much scientific work and the social influences that affect the priorities for research
- decision making and the importance of international regulation and agreements to deal with environmental issues that have a global dimension.