You are on page 1of 10

Chapter-15 Biodiversity and Conservation

Q1. Who coined the term Biodiversity? Ans. Biodiversity term was coined and popularised by the Sociobiologist Edward Wilsen. Q2. What is Biodiversity? Ans. Biodiversity refers to the totality of genes, species and ecosystem of a region. It differs from place to place. Q3. What are different hierarchial levels of biological diversity? Ans. 1) Genetic diversity It refers to the variation of genes within a species and variation could be in alleles or in entire genes or in the structure of chromosomes. It enables a population to adapt to its environment and to respond to natural selection. Speciation occurs due to genetic variation, i.e. the amount of genetic variation is the basis of speciation. A single species might show high diversity at the genetic level over its distributional range. Medicinal plant Rouwolfia vomitoria growing in different Himalayan ranges show genetic variation in terms of the potency and conc. of the active the active chemical (reserpine) that it produces. 2) Species diversity It refers to the variety of species within a region. The simplest measure of species diversity is species richness, which refers to the number of species per unit area. For eg-The Western Ghats have greater amphibian species diversity than the Eastern Ghats. 3) Ecological diversity-It is the diversity at ecosystem level. For ex- India with its deserts, rainforests, mangroves, coral reefs, wetlands, estuaries and alpine meadows has greater ecosystem diversity than a Scandinavian country like Norway. Q4.Name the chemical produced by Rouwolfia vomitoria. Ans. Reserpine Q5.How many strains of rice and mango are found in India? Ans. India has more than -50,000genetically different strains of rice and1000 varieties of mango. Q6.What is the total number of plant and animals on this Earth? Ans. According to IUCN(2004),the number of plants and animal species described so far is slightly more than1.5 million. Q7.Give an account of earths biodiversity. Ans. Based on the currently available species inventories, some interesting aspects about earths biodiversity are More than 70% of all the recorded species are animals.

Among animals insects are the most species rich taxonomic group and make up more than 70%of the total. In other words out of every 10 animals on this earth , 7 are insects. Plants( including fungi,algae,bryophytes,gymnosperms and angiosperms)comprise 22%of the total biodiversity. One number of fungi species in the world are more than the combined total of species fishes,amphibians,reptiles and mammals. (fig 15.1)

Q8.What makes our country one of the 12 mega diversity countries of the world? Ans. Although India has only 2.4%of the worlds land area,its share of the global species diversity is 8.1%.That is what makes our country one of the 12 mega diversity countries of the world. Q9. How many species of plants and animals has been recorded from India? Ans. Nealy 45,000 species of plants and animals has been recorded from India. Q10.What according to May(a scientist)is the percentage of total species recorded so far. Ans.22% Q11.What is different patterns of biodiversity ? Ans. 1)Latitudinal gradientsThe diversity of plants and animals is not uniform. They show interesting pattern of diversity ,such as latitudinal gradient in diversity -species diversity decreases as we move away from equator towards the poles. - Tropical areas (23.5 degree north to 23.5 degree south)have more species than temperate or polar areas. For ex-Columbia located near equator has nearly1,400species of birds, while Network at41 degree north has 105 and Greenland at 71 degree north has only 56 species India ( tropical)has more tahn1,200 species of birds -A prest in tropical region like equator has up to 10 times as many species of vascular plants as compared to a forest of same area in Midwest of U.S.A. -Tropical Amazon rainforests in South America has the greatest biodiversity on earth. 40,000 species of plants 30,000 species of fishs 1,300 species of birds 427 species of mammals 378 species of reptiles, more than1,25,000 species of invertebrates

Q12. Why tropics have greater biological diversity? Ans. Ecologists and evolutionary biologists have proposed various hypotheses The important ones are Speciation is generally a function of time. Tropical latitudes have remained relatively undisturbed for millions of years whereas temperate regions were subjected to frequent glaciations in the past. Therefore tropical regions had a long evolutionary time for diversity of species. Tropical environmental are less seasonal, relatively more constant and predictable as compared to temperate ones. Such constant environments promote niche specialization and leads to greater species diversity. There is more solar energy available in the tropics, which contributes to higher productivity and this in turn contributes indirectly to greater diversity.

2) Species area relationshipVon Humboldt a German examined a region, species richness increased with increasing explored area but only up to a limit. Accordingly , the relation between species richness and area for a wide variety of taxi( angiosperms , freshwater fishes , birds , bats)turns out to be a rectangular hyperbola. (Fig 15.2) The relationship shows a straight line on a logarithmic scale described by the equation. log S = log C + Z log A where s= species richness Z = species of the line (regression coefficient) A = area C= Y intercept The value of Z lies in the range of 0.1 to 0.2 regardless of the taxonomic group or the region i.e. the slopes of the regression line are amazingly similar whether it is the plants in Britain, birds in California or mollusks in new York state . If analysis of species area relationship is done among very large areas such as among continents, the slope of the line then would be much steeper (value of Z ranging 0.6 to 1.2) For fruit eating birds and mammals the slope would be 1.15 Q13. What are the characteristic features of a stable community? Ans. 1)a stable community should not show too much variation in productivity from year to year. 2)It must be either resistant or resilient (readily recovering from shocks)to occasional disturbances(natural or manmade).

3)it must also be resistant to invasions by alien species. Q14.What are the findings of David Tilmanstudies richness in a community? Ans14.David Tilmans long term ecosystem experiments using outdoor plots revealed that 1)Plotswith more species showed less year to year variation in total biomass 2)Increased diversity contributes to higher productivity. Q15.What is rivet popper hypothes Ans. This hypothesis was given by Paul Ehrlich, a Stanford ecologist. Airplane=Ecosystem Rivets=Species Rivet to take home=causing a species to become extinct Safety light=Proper functioning of the ecosystem Loss of rivets on the wings= loss of key species According to this hypothesis, ecosystem is like an airplane in which all parts are joined together. If every passenger travelling in it (ecosystem) starts popping(taking act)a rivet to take home it may not affect flight safety initially, but as more and more rivets(species)are removed, the plane becomes dangerously weak over a period of time. Loss of rivets on the wings(key species that drive major ecosystem functions) is obviously a more serious threat to flight safety than loss of a few rivets in the seats or windows inside the plane. Q16.Give an account of loss of biodiversity. Ans. The IUCN Red List (2004) has given the information about extinction of 784 species including -338 vertebrates -359 invertebrates -87 plants in the last 500 years Recent extinctions include extinction of-Dodo (Mauritius) , ethylamine (Australia), Quake(Africa),Stellerssea cow(Russia),three sub species of tiger (Bali,Javan,Caspian) Q17. Give an account of species which are facing the threat of extinction Ans. Bird species-12% Mammals-23% Amphibians-32% Gymnosperms-31%

Q18. What may be the effects of loss of biodiversity? Ans. Loss of biodiversity ina region may lead to 1)Decline in plant production 2)Lowered resistance to environmental distributions such as drought and 3)Increased variability in certain ecosystem processes such as plant productivity,water use and pest and disease cycles. Q19.What is different causes of biodiversity loss? Ans.The world is facing the problem of species extinction due to human activities. There are four major causes (The evil quartet) 1)Habitat loss and fragmentationIt is one of the primary reasons for the loss of Biodiversity, Tropical rain forests, once covering more hand 14%of the earths land, now covers not more than 6%. They are being destroyed fast. For ex-The Amazon rain forest (lungs of planet) which harbors millions of species is being cut and cleared for cultivating soya beans or for conversion to grasslands for raising beef, cattle. Habitat loss by pollution also threatens the survival of many species. When large habitats are broken up into small fragments due to various human activities, mammals and birds require large territories and certain animals with migratory habits are badly affected, leading to population declines. 2)Over-exploitationHuman needs lead to over exploitation of natural resources. Many species extictions were due to over exploitation by humans. Presently, many marine fish populations around the world are over harvested, which have endangered the continued existence of some commercially important species. 3) Alien species invasionsWhen alien species are introduced in an area, some of them turn invasive and cause decline or extinction of indigenous species. For ex-The Nile perch introduced into lake Victoria in East Africa has threatened the entire ecosystem of lake by eliminating native species(cichlight fish) The recent illegal production of the African Catfish Claries gariepinus for aquaculture purposes is posing a threat to the indigenous catfishes in our rivers.

4)Co-extinctions-When a species becomes extinct the plant and animal species associated with it in an obligatory way also become extinct. When a host fish species becomes extinct , its associated particles also become extinct. Q20.Why should we conserve Biodiversity? Ans. Humans derive many direct and indirect benefits from the living world .one reason for conservation of biodiversity can be classified intoa)Narrowly utilitarian arguments/reasonsHumans derive countless direct economic benefits from nature1) Food (cereals, pulses, fruits) 2)firewood 3) Fiber 4)construction material

5)industrial material (tannins,lubricants,dyes,resins,perfumes) & 6)Products of medicinal importance More than 25% of the drugs currently sold in the market worldwide are derived from plants and 25,000 species of plants contribute to the traditional medicine used by native peoples around the world. b)Broadly utilitarian arguments /reasonsAccording to broadly utilitarian argument biodiversity plays an important role in many ecosystem services that nature provides. -The Amazon forest is estimated to produce 20%of the total oxygen in the earths a tmosphere by photosynthesis. We cannot put any economic value on this service by nature. -ecosystem provides service of pollination without which plants cannot give us fruits or seeds.exwaking up to a bulbuls song in the morning. All these services are p riceless c)the ethical argument the wide variety of organisms existing today is the product of organic evolution through 3.5 billion years . a species once lost is lost forever .we need to realize that every species has an intrinsic value , even if it may not be of current or any economic value to us . therefore it would be unethical to let any species to disappear during our times, we must conserve wild life for the use of future generations.

Q21)How do we conserve biodiversity ? Ans21) there are two basic strategies of biodiversity conservation1)In situ (on site conservation)It is the most appropriate method to maintain species of wild animals and plants in their natural habitats. This approach includes the protection of total ecosystem and its biodiversity at all levels. For e.g. we save the entire forest to save tiger. It is unrealistic and uneconomical for many nations to conserve all their biological wealth .therefore, eminent conservationists have identified certain biodiversity hotspots regions with very high levels of species richness and high degree of endemism (that is, species confined to that region and not found anywhere else) Total number of biodiversity hotspots in the world is 34(25 old ones +9 recent ones). these hotspots are regions of accelerated habitat loss. Three of these hotspots Western Ghats and Sri Lanka, indo-Burma and Himalayan cover over countrys exceptionally high biodiversity regions. Q22) give an account of in- situ conservation in India Ans.1) in India, economically unique and biodiversity rich regions are legally protected as biosphere reserves, national parks and sanctuaries. India has -14 biosphere reserves 90 national parks 448 wildlife sanctuaries In many cultures in India, tracts of forest were set aside and all trees and wildlife within these forests were venerated (respect deeply) and given total protection. Such sacred groves are found in Khasi and Jaintia hills un Meghalaya , aravalli hills of rajasthan,western Ghats regions of Karnataka and Maharashtra and the sarguja, chanda and bastar areas of M.P. In Meghalaya , the sacred groves are the last refuges for a large number of rare on plants. 2)Ex situ conservation-

In this approach , threatened animals and plants are taken out from their natural habitat and placed in special settings where they can be protected and given special care. Botanical gardens, zoological parks, wildlife safari, pollen, seed, seedling, tissue culture and DNA banks serve this purpose. In recent years ,ex-situ conservation has advanced beyond keeping threatened species in enclosures . -Now gametes of threatened species can be preserved in viable and fertile condition for long periods using cryopreservation techniques , -eggs can be fertilized in vitro , and - plants can be propagated using tissue culture methods -seeds of different genetic variations of commercially important plants can be kept for long periods in seed plants. Q23. Initially, how many hotspots were identified ?how many more were added ? Ans. Initially 25 biodiversity hotspots were identified but subsequently, 9 more have been added to the list. Q24. Where was the historic convention on biological diversity (the earth summit)held? Ans. It was held in Rio De Janeiro in 1992. Q25. Why was the earth summit held? Ans. One earth summit was held to call upon all the nations to take appropriate measures for conservation of biodiversity and sustainable utilization of its benefits. Q26. Why the world summit was held? Ans.The world summit in sustainable development was held in 2002 in Johannesburg , south Africa , 190 countries pledged their commitment to achieve by 2010, a significant reduction in the current rate of biodiversity loss at global, regional and local levels. Q27. Name the 3 important components of biodiversity? Ans. Genetic diversity, species diversity and ecological diversity. Q28. How do ecologies estimate the total number of species present in the world ?

Ans. Ecologists make a statistical comparison of species richness of exhaustively studied groups


insects of the temperate and tropical regions and they extrapolate(estimate study) this ratio to other groups of animals and plants to calculate a gross estimate of the total number of species on earth Q29.What is the significance of the slope of regression in species area relationship? Ans. A species area relationship is done among small areas, the value of slopes of regression are remarkably similar regardless of the taxonomic group or the region. Q30. What are the major causes of species losses in a geographical region? Ans. -done-

Q31 how is diversity biodiversity important for ecosystem functioning? ans. Rich biodiversity provides alternatives available at each trophic level. All ecosystems are linked in food chains and interact with their abiotic environment in such a way so as to keep the natural cycles going and make the ecosystem self sustaining units . Disappearance of any link in a food chain will not affect the ecosystem as other alternatives are there. Q32. What are sacred groves? What is their role in conservation? Ans. Sacred groves are the sacred forest patches around places of worship. These are held in high esteem by tribal communities /state or central government. Tribals dont allow cutting even a single branch of tree in these sacred groves. This is the reason why many endemic species flourish in these regions. Q33. Among the ecosystems services are control of flood and soil erosion. How is this achieved by the biotic components of the ecosystems? Ans.plants plays a vital role in the control of flood and soil erosion. Their roots bind the soil particles firmly and in this way, they dont allow the top soil to be drifted away by winds or moving water to go into the soil. Q34. The species diversity of plants (22%) is much less than that of animals (72%), what could be the explanations to how animals achieved greater diversification? Ans. Most animals possess simple or complex nervous system to control and coordinate various activities. They possess receptors to receive environmental stimuli and show responses against them most of their responses are adaptive and ensure their survival in changing environmental conditions. They therefore have evolved to reveal much higher species diversity than plants that do not possess nervous system and respond differently against environmental stimuli.

Q35. Can you think of a situation where we deliberately want to make a species extinct? How would you justify it? Ans. We are trying to eradicate disease causing organisms (ex polio virus) from this world to make this world disease free. Since microorganisms are harmful to the human society, such attempt is justified. Not essential components (producers or decomposers) of any ecosystem and losing one or few such organisms would not affect the functioning of ecosystems. In situ conservation 1)It is the process of protecting the endangered species of plants or animals in the natural habitat, either by protecting or cleaning up the habitat itself or by defending the specie from natural predators . 2) It helps in recovering populations or 2) It helps in recovering populations in the surroundings where they have developed their distinctive features. For ex national parks, biosphere reserves, wild life sanctuaries. preventing their extinction under the conditions which closely resemble their natural habitats. For ex- botanical gardens, zoos , seed/pollen banks gene bank etc Ex situ conservation 1) It is the process of protecting the endangered species of plant or animal by removing it from the unsafe or threatened habitat and placing under the care of humans.