Survive and Thrive or Die?
Biodiversity is more complex than rare species (giant pandas), areas of high species diversity (rainforests), big dynamic creatures (whales), or economically important species (cod); however, these are the realms in which biodiversity is most commonly discussed. In this module, you will conduct research on either an endangered species or invasive species of your choice—either plant or animal. Consider the biological, ethical, and economic aspects of your species and relate these aspects to their role in protecting and preserving (endangered) or eradicating (invasive) your species. Then, address the following questions:
1. Briefly describe your chosen species and describe the basic reasons for its endangerment or invasive status.
2. Define what characteristics make some species more vulnerable to extinction, while others seem to thrive despite changes in their surroundings.
3. Describe how extinctions and/or invasive species affect biodiversity and therefore humans directly and indirectly.
1. Why do you think decisions about recovery and preservation or eradication of these species are so complicated?
2. What ethical responsibilities, if any, do you think we have to other creatures on the planet and to maintain biodiversity?
What sorts of trade-offs would you be willing to make in order to help protect an endangered species? How do you think this differs from general society? Why have you not already made these trade-offs? Would you make the same trade-offs for all types of species, including plants, insects, amphibians, and so on, in addition to those we tend to be more fond of, such as whales, tigers, and koalas?