NR 300 - Biological Diversity
Overview of Course
Biological diversity refers to the many different varieties of life and the processes that sustain it. It encompasses genes, organisms and ecosystems. Human societies and their many different cultural groups are part of biodiversity, not separate from it. Biological diversity is important for a variety of reasons. It provides products we depend on such as food, shelter, fuel and even medicines. It also provides essential services like water purification, air, pollination, decomposition of wastes, nutrient cycling and healing and recovery from natural disasters. The purpose of this course is to examine in depth what we know about the earth’s biological diversity, the many threats to its continued stability, and the potential solutions.
This semester we will have the rare opportunity of studying biological diversity while traveling through some of the world's most biodiverse countries including Malaysia, India, South Africa and Ghana. We will see biodiversity conservation in action and become working participants. We will learn how biodiversity is linked to cultural diversity as we interact with more than a dozen different cultural groups on three different continents, all working in distinct ways to protect biological diversity.