Losing Biodiversity

Cover of Losing Biodiversity online book

LOSING BIODIVERSITY is about the endangerment and extinction of entire species of plants and animals throughout the world due to human actions, beginning with the case study of the buffalo. See Overview.


ChaptersInvestigationsStay Current
1. Seeking Biodiversity1.1 Biodiversity AssessmentChapter 1
2. The Trail Back from Near Extinction2.1 Estimate Number of
      Bison Killed
2.2 Graph Bison Population
2.3 Biodiversity Issues
Chapter 2
3. Origin of Species3.1 Simulate Natural Selection
3.2 Ideas for Research
Chapter 3
4. The Puzzle of Inheritance4.1 Coin Toss
4.2 Dive Into Genetics
Chapter 4
5. Soil: The Living Skin of Earth5.1 Compare SoilsChapter 5
6. Field Trip:
      Predatory Bird Research Group
Chapter 6
7. One Global Ocean7.0 The Latest Water Cycle
7.1 Product Research
Chapter 7
8. Champions of a Sustainable World8.1 Final EssayChapter 8


Students learn about the value of biodiversity, from the discovery of new medicines and materials, to the protection of food crops and global systems. The current loss of biodiversity is put into perspective by involving the students in laboratory work where they see how species can adapt to changing conditions, learn theories about how new species evolve, and study the natural causes of extinctions. Further laboratory work illustrates the vital importance and fragility of soil in supporting entire communities of plants and animals; and how soil productivity is impacted by certain agricultural practices. Finally, students consider the history of actions that people around the world have taken to protect endangered species, up to current debates in Congress, and international agreements to preserve biodiversity.