Nonfiction 5

Wild Solutions: How Biodiversity is Money in the Bank, by Director Andrew Beattie, Professor Paul R. Ehrlich

By Director Andrew Beattie, Professor Paul R. Ehrlich

During this attention-grabbing and abundantly illustrated e-book, eminent ecologists clarify how the thousands of species dwelling on Earth—some microscopic, a few imprecise, many threatened—not in basic terms support retain us alive but additionally carry percentages for formerly unimagined items, medicinal drugs, or even industries. In an Afterword written particularly for this variation, the authors think of the influence of 2 revolutions now occurring: the expanding expense at which we're researching new species as a result of new know-how on hand to us and the accelerating fee at which we're wasting organic range. additionally reviewed and summarized are many “new” wild suggestions, akin to cutting edge techniques to the invention of prescription drugs, the “lotus effect,” the ever-growing significance of micro organism, molecular biomimetics, ecological recovery, and robotics.“An effortless learn, producing a momentum of strength and pleasure concerning the power of the flora and fauna to resolve some of the difficulties that face us.”—E. J. Milner-Gulland, Nature“Must-reading for everyone.”—Simon A. Levin, writer of Fragile Dominion: Complexity and the Commons“An enticing publication sincerely meant to provoke upon a lay viewers the sensible worth of organic range. . . . a great work.”—Ecology“A so much stimulating learn for all these budding technology scholars from secondary via graduate schools.”—Science Books & motion pictures

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Extra info for Wild Solutions: How Biodiversity is Money in the Bank, Second Edition

Sample text

In our bodies, therefore, the human cells are outnumbered about ten to one by the creatures that inhabit us! Because each species is home to others, it is hard to imagine how many different kinds of homes, or habitats, exist in the world. Various parasites find homes in the lungs of orangutans, the kidneys of squids, or the nasal passages of snakes. Others specialize on the breathing 28 a l i t t l e - k n ow n p l a n e t tubes of honey bees, the ears of moths, the nostrils of hummingbirds, the feather shafts of birds, the antennae of ants, the eyebrows of humans, and the digestive tracts of sea urchins.

Yet these apparently hostile conditions support many kinds of organisms, often in very large numbers. Aside from the abundant and ubiquitous bacteria, there are tube worms up to 2 meters long, clams, mussels, and shrimps. Almost none has been found anywhere else and until a few years ago they were totally unknown to science. The current inventory is 360 species from 200 genera and 65 families. As if the living conditions on black smokers were not bad enough, the vents regularly erupt, belch, and disappear; organisms that depend on them must therefore cope with the apparent chaos of a constantly Fig.

Nineteen of twenty-four vertebrate species went extinct almost immediately, as did all of the pollinators, limiting the persistence of populations of plants requiring pollination to the lifetime of the colonizing individuals. Morning glories and other vines that had been added to the experiment to absorb excess carbon dioxide ran rampant. The Biospherians strove to weed them out, but their efforts fell short and the crops were overgrown. The occupants started to starve and were forced to cut down the tropical rain forest in order to plant more food crops.

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