Introduction

From afar, rainforests look green, mysterious, quiet and peaceful. However, this is afar from the truth. They are actually made up of rich wildlife full of activity. Our rainforest boast of millions of species of flora and fauna which are unique and not found anywhere else in world.

Objective
By the end of this chapter, we should be able to • Understand the variety of living organisms and their classification.

What is Biodiversity?

If we look closely, we will find many living things around us. We call these living things organisms. There are many different kinds of organinsms on earth. Scientist estimate that there are about 10 to 100 million kinds if organisms living on earth. Of these, only less than 2 million kinds have been identified. The rest are yet to be discovered. The wide variety of organisms on earth is known as biodiversity or biological diversity. You can see this diversity everywhere like local parks, forests, mountaintops and even deep down in oceans.

What is Classification?

Due to the variety of organisms on earth, scientists have found it useful to sort these organisms into groups. Sorting organisms into groups is called classification.

What is the importance of biodiversity to the environment?

The importance of biological diversity to human society is hard to overstate. An estimated 40 per cent of the global economy is based on biological products and processes. Poor people, especially those living in areas of low agricultural productivity, depend especially heavily on the genetic diversity of the environment. The effective use of biodiversity at all levels genes, species and ecosystems - is therefore a precondition for sustainable development. However, human activities the world over are causing the progressive loss of species of plants and animals at a rate far higher than the natural background rate of extinction.

Why do we need to classify animals and plants? Explain with examples.

Due to the variety of organisms on earth, scientists have found it useful to sort these organisms into groups. Sorting organisms into groups is called classification. As new organisms are discovered, new charateristics are used in classifying these oganisms. As a result, over the years, the classification system has also gone through some changes. In the classification system used today, organisms are classified into five major groups called kingdoms. They are animals, plants, fungi(moulds), bacteria and very simple organisms.

Animal Classification

Animal A

Amphibians

Amphibians are cold blooded animals that can live both on land and in water. Most amphibians adults live on land. They return to the water only to lay eggs. The eggs are fertilized outside the female’s body (external fertilization). The young amphibians live in water and breathe through their gills. The adults breathe with their lungs when on land and through their skir when in water. The adults have loose and moist skin.

Animal B

Fish

Fish have bodies that are well adapted for life under water. Their skin is covered with hard and slimy scales for protection. They have fins and tails to swim. They absorb dissolved oxygen in the water through their gills. Most of them lay eggs that are fertilized outside their bodies. Fish are coldblooded animals. This means that their body temperature changes with their surrounding temperature.

Animal C

Birds

Birds are the only animals with feathers. They have beaks and wings but not all of them can fly. They breath with their lungs. They are warm blooded animals. This means that their body temperature remains constant and does not change with the environment. Their eggs, which are fertilized internally (internal fertilization), have hard shells and are laid in their nests.

Animal D

Mammals

Mammals are warm-blooded animals whose bodies are covered with hair or fur. Their eggs are fertilized internally and their young develop inside the female body. All mammals, except the duck-billed platypus and the spiny anteater, give birth to live young. Their young feed on milk from the mother’s mammary glands. Mammals breathe with their lungs. This includes thooose living in the water such as dolphins and whales.

Animal E

Reptiles

Many reptiles live on land. All reptiles have hard dry scales to protect their bodies. They breathe with their lungs and are cold-blooded animals. Reptile eggs are fertilized inside the female body. The eggs have tough, leathery shells to prevent them from drying out.

Diversity in the general characteristics of living organisms.

 Animal D has fur while Animal C does not.  Animal C has beak while Animal B does not.  Animal B has fins while Animal A does not.  Animal D has hard dry scales why Animal D does not. Two other ways that I have choosen to classify the 5 animals are:i) Reproductive methods Animal A,B,C,D,E

Internal Fertilisation

External Fertilisation

Mammals

Reptiles, Fish, Amphibians, Birds

ii) Body temperature

Animal A,B,C,D,E

Warm- Blooded

Cold- Blooded

Mammals, Birds

Reptiles, Fish, Amphibians

Vertebrates and Invertebrates
Scientist have so far identified more than 1 million animals.

Animals are divided into two main groups, those with backbones and those without. Animals with backbones are called vertebrates. Animals without backbones are called invertebrates

Classification of plants

Plants are divide into two main groups:i) Flowering plants ii) Non-Flowering plants

Flowering Plants
• Flowering plants are plants that produce flowers. • Flowering plants breed after pollination and fertilization during which seeds are formed. • Flowering plants are into divided into monocotyledons and dicotyledons. • Cotyledon is the seed leaf that contains food substances in the form of starch used by the seedling during germination.

Monocotyledon One Parallel veins Soft stem Fibrous root Paddy, maize, grass

Difference Dicotyledon Two Number of cotyledons in seed Network veins Veins of leaf Hard stem Type of stem Tap root Root system Mango tree, balsam Examples

Differences between a monocotyledon and a dicotyledon

Non-Flowering Plants

 Non-Flowering plants peproduce by spores .  Non-Flowering plants are divided into four groups:

Algae

Sea Alga

Chlamidomonas

o o o o

They live in water and humid soil. They do not have stems, leaves or roots. They have chlorophyll. They are unicellular algae (e,g, pleurococus ad chlamidomonas) and multicellular algae (e.g. spirogyra and sea weed)

Fungi

Mushroom

Yeast

    

They live in damp ares. They do not have leaves, stems, or roots. They do not have chlorophyll. They live as parasites or saprophytes. There are unicellular fungi (e,g, yeast) and multicellular fungi (e.g. mushroom)

Mosses

Moss

• They live in damp areas. • They have leaves and stems but no root

systems. • They have chlorophyll.

Ferns


Ferns

   

They They They They

live in damp and shady places. have stem and leaf systems. have chlorophyll. reproduce by spores.

Classification of living things

Living Things

Plants

Animals

Flowerng

NonFlowering

Vertebrates

Invertebrates

Monocotyledons

Dicotyledons

Ferns

Algae

Mammals

Amphibians

FUngi

Mosses

Mammals

Birds

Fish

Malaysia is one of the twelve mega-biodiversity countries in the world. Malaysia in one of the twelve mega biodiversity countries in the world. This means that our country is very rich in plant and animal species. In fact, many of the plants and animals found here are not found anywhere else in the world.

Taman Kinabalu has been declared one of the worlds natural heritage sites. Kinabalu National Park or Taman Negara Kinabalu in Malay (754 km2), in the State of Sabah on the northern end of the island of Borneo, is dominated by Mount Kinabalu (4,095 m), the highest mountain between the Himalayas and glaciated peaks in New Guinea. Designated in 1964 as one of Malaysia’s first national parks, owing to its high biotic diversity and endemism, Kinabalu was chosen as a UNESCO World Heritage Site under criteria IX and X in December 2000 for its "outstanding universal values". Inscription on this list confirms the exceptional universal value of a natural or cultural site which deserves protection for the benefit of all humanity. The altitudinal and climatic gradient from tropical forest to alpine conditions combine with precipitous topography, diverse geology and frequent climate oscillations to provide conditions ideal for the development of new species. This world heritage site is blessed with astonishing variety of flora and fauna that ranges over four climate zones; from rich lowland dipterocarp forest through the montane oak, rhododendron, to the coniferous forests, to the alpine meadow plants, and to the stunted bushes of summit zone. The Park contains representatives from more than half the families of all flowering plants and is famous for its many carnivorous plant and orchid species. It has been designated as a Centre of Plant Diversity for Southeast Asia and is exceptionally rich in species with examples of flora from the Himalayas, China, Australia, Malaysia, as well as pan-tropical flora. The majority of Borneo’s mammals, birds, amphibians and invertebrates (many threatened and vulnerable) occur in the park. Its is also home to a multitude of endemic animal species.

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