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1 Biodiversity trail

2 What is biodiversity? The term biodiversity refers to the great variety Biodiversity Trail Biodiversity refers to the variety of all living organisms, from microscopic bacteria to giant redwood trees. It includes the variety of genetic information available within a species. The interrelationships between organisms are also an integral part of biodiversity. Organisms have evolved over time to develop different adaptations to survive in their habitats and niches. These adaptations contribute to the diversity of life on earth. There are many biodiversity hotspots across the globe which includes ecosystems such as rainforests, coral reefs and seamounts. These ecosystems contain the greatest proportion of the Earth s species although we only know about a few of them. Biodiversity trail This trail will take you on a tour of the diversity of life here at Marwell and allow you to discover more about biodiversity and its importance to us. Use the map provided to help you follow this trail. You will need to look for signs near the enclosures to help find the information you need. You may also need to use your own knowledge or observational skills to work out some answers.

3 1. HUMBOLDT PENGUIN Humboldt penguins are named after the Humboldt Current which runs past the coasts of Chile and Peru where these birds live. Whilst the most familiar penguin species are found in colder climates, the Humboldt penguin originates from a more temperate climate. 1. a) Which hemisphere are these flightless birds usually found in? 1. b) What adaptations do Humboldt penguins have which allow them to be successful in the ocean environments they spend most of their time in? (Choose 2). Adaptation 1: Helps by: Adaptation 2: Helps by: 2. GREATER FLAMINGO Greater flamingos live in highly saline water (high concentrations of salt) and alkaline habitats such as estuarine lagoons and mangrove swamps. 2. a) What level of biodiversity would you expect to find in such harsh conditions? Why?

4 2. b) What adaptations can you see that might help greater flamingos to survive in these environments? 2. c) Why do you think there are mirrors and sounds in the flamingo enclosure? 3. CHEETAH About 10,000 years ago, all but one species of cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) died out. Only a few individuals survived, from which all of today s cheetah are descended. The breeding of close relatives in this founder population has resulted in today s cheetah sharing approximately 99% of their genetic information, compared to about 80% for most species. This means that there are very few alleles (different forms of the same gene) within the remaining global cheetah population. 3. a) What problems do you think this lack of genetic diversity within the cheetah population could cause?

5 4. HEART OF AFRICA As you enter Heart of Africa, on the right hand side you will notice a board showing the huge diversity of antelopes that there are. 4. a) What factors have determined the huge variety of shapes and sizes of antelope that have evolved? If you walk over to the other side of Heart of Africa you can see a range of antelope horns, which further illustrate the diversity of antelope. Now look at the cichlid fish from Lake Malawi (back wall of Heart of Africa). 4. b) How are so many different species of cichlid fish able to survive in the same lake? 5. AMUR LEOPARD Many species are threatened by human activities the Amur leopard is one of these threatened species. 5. a) What is the conservation status of the Amur leopard? 5. b) Identify 2 threats to the Amur leopard in the wild. Conservation efforts to try to protect Amur leopards from extinction include anti-poaching patrols, education, and captive breeding programmes. 5. c) Amur leopards are also listed under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Appendix I. What do you think this means?

6 6. OKAPI (Please be quiet in the okapi house) The okapi is a large mammal (almost 2 metres tall!) and lives in the Ituri Forest of the Democratic Republic of Congo, central Africa. The okapi was not known to European scientists until 1901 because it is such a shy and elusive animal. 6. a) What does this tell you about our current knowledge of the biodiversity of life on earth? 6. b) What activity is currently threatening the forest habitat in which the okapi live? What is the product of this activity used for? 6. c) For which forest are the okapi the flagship species? Why have a flagship species?

7 7. CHAPMAN S ZEBRA Different species have different social structures. Whilst some species live in herds, for example giraffes, other species prefer to lead a mostly solitary lifestyle, for example tigers. 7. a) What is the social structure for Chapman s zebras? 7. c) How is this social structure useful for the zebras survival? 8. PARTULA SNAILS The Polynesian partula tree snail species are currently under threat. Since 1970, 50 species of partula snail have become extinct and some are now extinct in the wild. Therefore many of the remaining species are part of a conservation breeding programme.

8 8. a) What has caused the massive decrease in numbers of these snails? 8. b) Why is it important that Marwell is part of the breeding programme for partula snails?

9 9. WORLD OF LEMURS If a species is endemic it means that it is only found in a particular habitat or location and it is not found anywhere else in the world. 9. a) Where are fossa endemic to and what is their current conservation status? Endemic to: Conservation status: 9. b) Why is it important to conserve the habitats where these endemic animals are found? Although lemurs all belong to the same family (Lemuridae), there is much diversity between different species. 9. c) Write down some of the key features of Alaotran gentle lemurs. Distribution: Habitat: Diet Conservation status: Colour: Other key features: 9. d) Compare the Alaotran gentle lemur to one of the other lemur species we have here at Marwell. What are the similarities and differences between these two lemur species? Try to explain some of the reasons for these similarities/differences.

10 10. TROPICAL WORLD On your way around Tropical World answer the following questions. Please read through the questions 10.a) 10.c) before you start so that you are aware of what you are looking for. Although rainforests cover only 6% of the Earth s land area, they contain over half of the world s plant and animal species! Rainforests have the highest level of biodiversity of all the ecosystems on Earth and humans have found ways to exploit this. 10. a) As you look around Tropical World complete the blank spaces in the table below for 5 rainforest plants that humans use. COMMON NAME LATIN NAME ORIGIN USE Musa cavendishii Canary Islands Food Joseph s coat Codiaeum variegatum Petra Japanese banana Japan Caladium x hortulanum Dressing wounds Rosy periwinkle PTO for more Tropical World questions

11 10. b) i) Which different species would be affected if a parrot flower (Heliconia psittacotum) is killed? 10. b) ii) Try to draw a partial food chain or food web for some of the species that are part of the parrot flower ecosystem. The niche of an organism is its role or function within an ecosystem. For example, the role of some birds may be to eat fruits and disperse the seeds. 10. c) Which fish in Tropical World fulfils a similar role to these birds?

12 11. PYGMY HIPPOPOTAMUS Pygmy hippos are semi-aquatic mammals which inhabit rivers and swamps in forested areas in western 11. a) What adaptations do the pygmy hippos have to help them survive in their habitat? 11. b) What is threatening the habitat of the pygmy hippos?

13 12. CAPYBARA Capybara are the world s largest rodents and lead a partially aquatic lifestyle. 12. a) How are capybara similar to the pygmy hippos you saw earlier in terms of their adaptations for this lifestyle? 12. b) i) How is the growing of single crops on large grassland areas in South America affecting capybara? 12. b) ii) What could you do to help? How does this help?

14 13. GIANT ANTEATER Giant anteaters are unusual looking animals with a diet consisting mostly of ants and termites. 13) What adaptations do giant anteaters have to help them obtain food? 14. SUMMARY On your journey around Marwell you have looked at just a small sample of the millions of plant and animal species that exist on earth. 14. a) Why do you think it is so important for humans to take steps to preserve the biodiversity of our planet? 14. b) What steps could we take to help preserve biodiversity?

15 Fur, feathers &scales ) Humboldt penguins 2) Greater flamingo 3) Cheetah 4) Heart of Africa 5) Amur leopard 6) Okapi 7) Chapman s Zebra 8) Partula snail 9) World of lemurs 10) Tropical world 11) Pygmy Hippopotamus 12) Capybara 13) Anteater

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