People have long wondered how the amazing diversity of life on Earth came to be. This diversity has developed through biological evolution and is affected by interactions among species and by the environment. After reading this chapter, you should understand:
- How the conservation of biological diversity involves an understanding of the intricate relationships among species and between species and their environments.
- Why people value biological diversity.
- What are the ecological functions of biological diversity.
- What major problems are associated with biological diversity.
- How mutation, natural selection, migration, and genetic drift lead to evolution of new species.
- Why so many species have been able to evolve and persist.
- How species interactions affect diversity.
- The concepts of the ecological niche and habitat.
- How people can affect biological diversity.