The diversity of species on Earth is incredible. Right now, there are more than 1.7 million species that have been discovered and named while scientists think that there are millions more we don’t know about. The different plants, animals and other forms of life interact with each other in so many ways that we are still figuring them out.
Over time, many species of plants and animals have evolved to depend on one another. For example, some plants can only be pollinated by a certain kind of bird or insect. In relationships like these, if one species becomes extinct, the other species could too.
The complex relationships between species are often disturbed when organisms are transported to new places or a new element is introduced (for example, chemicals from pesticides). This can be by accident or on purpose. Sometimes they compete with species that are already there or they prey on them. It is also possible that they may have no effect on the native species.
Here are a couple of tips
• Never introduce an invasive plant species into an area
• it does not naturally exist
• Never release your exotic pets, including fish or turtles,
• into the wild
• Plant only native species
• Avoid using pesticides or chemicals on your lawns
• or in your garden.
Genetics make individuals of the same species different from each other. If you look at the hair colour of your friends or the different colours of apples in the grocery store you can see the small differences that genes make in members of the same species.
It is important for groups of plants and animals, including people, to have genetic diversity. It allows groups to adapt to changes in their environment. This could be something like an outbreak of disease or a change in the climate.
A larger group has more genetic diversity. This group will be stronger and better able to adapt to change.