Biodiversity

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Some of the biodiversity of a coral reef

Rainforests are an example of biodiversity on the planet, and typically possess a great deal of species diversity. This is the Gambia River in Senegal's Niokolo-Koba National Park. Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Greater biodiversity implies greater health. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions support fewer species.

Rapid environmental changes typically cause extinctions. One estimate is that less than 1% of the species that have existed on Earth are extant.[1] Since life began on Earth, five major mass extinctions and several minor events have led to large and sudden drops in biodiversity. The Phanerozoic eon (the last 540 million years) marked a rapid growth in biodiversity via the Cambrian explosion—a period during which nearly every phylum of multicellular organisms first appeared. The next 400 million years included repeated, massive biodiversity losses classified as mass extinction events. In the Carboniferous, rainforest collapse led to a great loss of plant and animal life.[2] The Permian–Triassic extinction event, 251 million years ago, was the worst; vertebrate recovery took 30 million years.[3] The most recent, the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event, occurred 65 million years ago, and has often attracted more attention than others because it resulted in the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs.[4] The period since the emergence of humans has displayed an ongoing biodiversity reduction and an accompanying loss of genetic diversity. Named the Holocene extinction, the reduction is caused primarily by human impacts, particularly habitat destruction. Biodiversity's impact on human health is a major international issue
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Complex problem solving
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Complex problem solving is a factor of many jobs. It can be difficult to come up with ideas and solutions to complex or multi-layered problems when a person experiences difficulty with problem solving and associated decision making. There are various different approaches to problem solving and associated decision making. The more commonly used process can be used for both general and complex problem solving and incorporates the following steps; 1. Define the problem—a problem must be clearly understood if a solution is to be found. This can be achieved by breaking the information down into smaller components such as; what/when/how/where/who is it happening to? Also look at potential causes. 2. Brainstorm possible solutions—this can be done either individually or in a team. It involves collecting as many ideas as possible without judgment and considering the consequences of each possible solution.

3. Select or decide on a solution that seems best and put it into action - consider both short term and long term implications, as well as time and resource constraints. Break the solution into smaller parts/steps and use a checklist to follow progress against planned activities. Be specific, provide time lines and allocate responsibility to relevant people when developing the checklist or action plan. 4. After you have implemented the solution, evaluate your decision to see how well the solution solved the problem. Make relevant changes, if necessary and repeat step 3 above. This process may need to be repeated if a problem is complex or multi-layered. Effective problem solving and associated decision making is useful in most workplaces and therefore a valuable skill for employees in general.

Workplace adjustments and solutions
There are aids and support networks available which can assist people who may experience difficulty with complex problem solving within the workplace. Prompts, reminders and checklists can assist people with problem solving as they can be used to assess the situation and provide information about the problem, such as what has been done, when and what is next. Aids such as graphic organisers can assist people with problem solving. They provide an effective way, particularly for visual thinkers to arrange their ideas. With graphic organisers, you remove most of the words and focus on connections or links between ideas using only key words and images. This allows people to look at the whole problem as well as the interrelated smaller issues. Graphic organisers have many names including visual maps, mind mapping, and visual organisers. They can be used in several phases of problem solving such as; comparing and contrasting ideas in the decision making phase such as pros and cons grids/graphs; the action phase using options such as visual checklists and the evaluation phase using cause and effect visual organisers:

Organisers—graphic

Other supports such as job coaches, skills trainers and mentors in the workplace can assist people with problem solving skill development in the work place:

Job coaching services

Also, specialist employment agencies who provide coaching and support on-the-job for people with disability may also be able to assist with learning how to problem solve at work. See the following link to search for a provider in your area (please note that the link below will open an external website):

Australian Job Search- Search for a Disability Employment Service

(Johnson & Lamb 2007; McNamara 1997 – 2008)

References:
McNamara, C. 1997-2008, Basic Guidelines to Problem Solving and Decision Making, Authenticity Consulting LLC, North Minneapolis, viewed 17 July 2009, <http://www.managementhelp.org/prsn_prd/prb_bsc.htm>. Johnson, L. & Lamb, A. 2007, Learning Resources: Graphic Organisers, Teacher tap, online, viewed 17 July 2009, http://eduscapes.com/tap/topic73.htm.

Problem solving and decision making
In many workplaces regular decisions need to be made about work and its progress. Problem solving, analysing information and negotiating solutions are often linked with decision making and are equally valuable skills applied in the workplace. These cognitive or thinking skills can be difficult for people who have a disability that affects the way the brain processes information such as those with intellectual disabilities, acquired brain injuries, specific learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, psychiatric disorders, dementia and other neurological conditions.

Workplace adjustments and solutions
A cognition and communication specialist, such as a speech pathologist may be useful in identifying any difficulties in this area by way of assessment:

Cognition and communication specialists

Assistance is also available to enable employees to make better decisions and more effectively tackle problems at work. Specific aids and support networks are detailed in the following relevant problem solving and decision making links.

Links to more specific job requirements for problem solving and decision making:
• • • • • • •
Complex problem solving Critical thinking General problem solving Making decisions Negotiating Problem solving and decision making Solving mathematical problems

PROBLEM solving and decision making
In many workplaces regular decisions need to be made about work and its progress. Problem solving, analysing information and negotiating solutions are often linked with decision making and are equally valuable skills applied in the workplace. These cognitive or thinking skills can be difficult for people who have a disability that affects the way the brain processes information such as those with intellectual disabilities, acquired brain injuries, specific learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, psychiatric disorders, dementia and other neurological conditions.

Workplace adjustments and solutions

A cognition and communication specialist, such as a speech pathologist may be useful in identifying any difficulties in this area by way of assessment:

Cognition and communication specialists

Assistance is also available to enable employees to make better decisions and more effectively tackle problems at work. Specific aids and support networks are detailed in the following relevant problem solving and decision making links.