OCR F212 - Biodiversity and maintaining biodiversity revision/flash cards

Revision cards i made with all the definitions and key things for biodiversity and maintaining biodiversity

  • Created by: kath
  • Created on: 30-05-13 10:16


SPECIES - A group of organisms whose members are similar to each other in shape,(morphology), physiology, biochemistry and behaviour, and can interbreed to produce fertile offspring

HABITAT -the place where an aorganism or population lives. It includes the clmate, topographic and edaphic factors, as well as the plants and animals that live there.

BIODIVERSITY - the number and variety of living things to be found in the world, in an ecosystem, or in a habitat

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Biodiversity can be concidered on a number of leve


  • some habitats can support a large range of organisms


  • Presence of certain species affects what other species are present

                    -> shelter, competition etc

Genetic variation

  • Diversity within a species. The more genetically diverse the population, the more the population can adapt to changing conditions
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Species richness and species evenness

Spieces richness - The number of species in a habitat

Species eveness - The relative abundance of individuals in each species

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Problems and solutions to investigating biodiversi


  • too many species/organisms to count
  • organisms too small to see (bacteria and fungi) and bacteria and fungi reproduce rapidly so numbers keep changing
  • investigation could damage the habitat/organisms
  • differences according to season or time of day


  • sample - assume sample is a true representation of the habitat

Choosing samples - consider

  • size of sample
  • number of samples
  • how to locate sample site - random ( how do ensure sampling is random? and pros/cons), systematic (pros/cons)
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Used to look at progressive change across a habitat

Lay tape measure from one end of a sample area to the other e.g. sea to sand dunes

If place a quadrat along the tape , it is a Belt Transect

  • If the quadrat is placed to cover every part along the tape, it is an uninterrupte belt transect
  • if place the quadrat and sample at reguar intevals along the length, it is an interrupted belt transect
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Apparatus used for sampling plants


Frame quadrats

  • Generally square
  • Lots of different sizes - be specific
  • often divided into smaller squares
  • used to look at relatively small plants
  • used in relatively uniform habitats
  • could look at range of species or just one
  • need key to idenity species
  • once species identified can record:
  •   - presence or abundance of each species or selected species
  •   - number of individuals of each species, used to work out species density
  •   - percentage cover within quadrat
  •   - ACFOR (Abundant, Common, Frequent, Occasional, Rare)
  •          -> quick and used if looking at lots of different species - not quantitative, so limits stats tests that can be used - SUBJECTIVE - dominate specieces may be over estiated

Point quadrats

  • record which species are touching pin
  • used in relatively uniform habitats
  • used to estimate % cover
  • more precise than frame quadrat
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Simpson's Diversity Index

can calculate diversity for two habitats and compare the values found

D = 1- (n/N)^2 

N = total number of organisms counted

n = number of individuals of a particular species

The higher the value, the greater the biodiversity

More biodiverse habitats tend to be more stable

If there are lots of different species in a habitat, the removal of one species has less impact than if there were fewer species in the habitat













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Global biodiversity

  • impossible to estimate
  • some regions are difficult to reach e.g. sea bed
  • some organisms have become extinct
  • organisms are evolving so new species are forming
  • Hard to identify organisms to species level - e.g. grasses
  • by researching more, we may find more species but this could be detrimental to the environment
  • need to consider number of individuals of each species ( and the genetic variation within a species)
  • should some species be rated higher than others in conservation?
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Environmental impact assessment (EIAs)

Assessment should be done before any sampling- sampling may be detrimental to conservation

EIA must be submitted with any new development e.g. new housing estae, new road, rerouting road

Whether or not an EIA is needed is dependent on ; location,size,impact of development (e.g. traffic going to site)

PURPOSE - to ensure the building project does not adversely affect biodiversity


  • Surveying site and surrounding area (to see which species are present and the number of individuals of each species)
  • predicting the impact of development on wildlife e.g. loss of habitat for certain named species
  • proposing and implementing measures to prevent damage e.g. making a new pond for the organisms

Who's responsible for it? - developer who carries/ contracts it out - submits to local planning authority

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Theats to biodiversity

  • human activity and human population growth
  • pollution
  • altering environment
  • fishing
  • introduction of species
  • killing non target species
  • monoculture farming
  • plastic lands may provide new environments
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Reasons for conservation


  • plants in reinforset may hold chemical that have important medical benefits for drug development
  • plants may have natural resistance to a pest, could be crossed with another pant to produce disease resistant crops
  • ecotourism


  • More species - more pollination
  • Nutrients recycling and fertilisation of the soil
  • more bio diverse the habitat, the more stable it is


  • Human responsibility because have been responsible for past extinctions and have power to influence the future
  • Human groups still living in natural habitats

Aesthetic - pleasure survived from bio diverse enevironments

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Global climate change

Increase in mean global temp - increase greenhouse effect

Increase in extreme weather patterns - increase flooding and drought

Problems of warming

1. organisms in northern hemisphere migrate northwards BUT

  • natural barrier e.g. sea
  • human influence - organisms in national parks can't spread because of town or agriculture

2. spread of disease causing pathogens which could lead to extinction of some species

  • milder winter, more pests can survive
  • Mosquitoes with malaria may reach N Europe
  • Bluetongue in cattle

3. in agriculture

  • current crop varities grown unable to withstand extreme conditions
  • if new crops (e.g. olives) introduced may be vulnerable to pests
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Benefits to agriculture of maintaining biodiversit

variaiton within a species is good so that different strains can be crossed ( selective breeding) to produce strains with beneficial characteristics (e.g. drought resistant)

possibility of inserting genes from one species into another to produce new characteristics

Species, as yet undiscovered may be suitable for a cop or as a predator for pests

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In situ conservation

conservation of an organism in its natural habitat so minimising human impact to the natural environment

might involve:

1. legislation banning;hunting, logging, export of certain species/ animal products, land clearance for agriculture/ land development

2. Development of conservation areas e.g. national parks and SSSIs (sites of special scientific interest)


  • some species only breed in natural habitat
  • some species bred in captivity find it hard to cope with predation, hunting etc when reintroduced
  • natural habitat so perfect conditions for breeding - can study and monitor conditions and including protection procedures eg. add food


  • may have a detrimental effects elsewhere in the food chain
  • detremental to local communities e.g. tigers eating farming animals
  • breeding not garinteed
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Ex situ conservation

conservation of an organism away from its natural habitat


  • collection of organisms
  • transport of organisms
  • introduce organisms to captivity
  • provide conditions for breeding (artificial insemination)
  • reintroduce into wild


  • Use of AI and IVF can ensure geetic variation within a species
  • Preserve and transport sperm/embryos/seeds so ensure gentic diversity
  • have access to vets care
  • Benefit to public - provide financial support, education and enjoyment


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Examples of Ex situ conservation

  • Botanical gardens and seed banks
  • collect seeds or cuttings
  • seeds stored - Kew millennium -> seeds from more than 10% of known dry land species
  • conditions of storage - cold, dry, diseasefree
  • seeds grown into plants and crosses carried out between strains to find new strains with new characteristics
  • on going research into: conditions needed for germination and resistance to disease
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Sseed banks


Can collect seeds from species that may have medical or agricultural benefits before the species goes extinct

storage of seeds takes up very little space

  • seeds of some species from different populations can be stored
  • individuals from different populations can be crossed to increase genetic diversity

seeds can generally survive for a long time a remain viable (but not always) damaging population in the wild.

Once a few plants are produced, cuttings can be taken and asexual reproduction used to produce larger number of species


  • collection could disturb ecosystem
  • storage may reduce viability
  • no variation introduced with asexual reproduction
  • if seeds from only one population, there is a small gene pool and little genetic variation
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International cooperation - CITES

Conservation on International Trade in Endangered Species of flora and fauna


  • to ensure that international trade in wildlife and products (e.g. ivory) does not threaten survival
  • achieved by promoting cooperation between countries

ENDANGERED SPECIES - species threatened with extinction either through natural or manmade changes in environment e.g. pollution, pouching, pesticides, building


1. Identify most endangered species

  • international trade of these species and their products prohibited
  • allow movement of organisms for breeding programmes but only if licence granted

2. Identify less endangered species (but still threatened) so they can be monitored

  • licence needed for movement but more readily granted
  • different lists according to digree of threat

3. Review species on ist

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CITES - problems

  • increased trade in species if it is known that it is likely to become listed
  • it is sometimes difficult for customs officials to distinguish between two similar looking species, one endangered and one not
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International cooperation - Rio Convention in Biol


  • Protect/increase biodiversity
  • Provide sustainable development
  • Provide a healthy environment for humans


1. Agreed the sharing of :

  • knowledge
  • technologies e.g. Artificial Insemination Skills
  • Genetic resources e.g. seeds, embryos, sperm

2. Established its own schemes for maintaining biodiversity

UK  - Biodiversity Action Plans (national and local levels)

  • Establishment of SSSIs
  • Grants available - maintain hedgerows, leave edges of fields unploughed, dig wildlife ponds
  • Research into role of wildlife corridoes e.g. motorway verges
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Ex situ disadvantages


  • Danger to animals in capturing and transporting
  • breeding within a park, risk of inbreeding and loss of diversity
  • distress to organisms in confined and unatural enevironments
  • lack of compatibility with mating partners (maybe reduced fertility)
  • lack of survival when reintroduced to wild - no immunity to disease, can't integrate with own species, cant withstand predation
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