Gator Good – Biodiversity and the Earth

Gator Good – Biodiversity and the Earth


Biodiversity is the totality of life on
earth. It includes all the plants, all the
animals, all the fungi, all of the microbes that accrue in the soil and in
the water. Together all of this makes up a healthy planet. We’re really lucky here
at UF to have such a large and diverse faculty who approach
biodiversity questions from a number of different perspectives. To help bring all
of us together, the university has invested in a new Biodiversity Institute. The full field of biodiversity science
is really expanding. We’re developing collaborations with
institutions internationally, but we also have some very strong ties to some of
the best developing biodiversity programs in the country. Similar programs are developing at Yale
and Berkeley. They’re smaller than our institute here at UF, but they’ve got
some very excellent scientists — and so, we’re really excited to be collaborating
with them. We all have the same goals in mind. We try to document biodiversity.
It’s really important to do this because we want to be able to document all these
species before they’re all gone, before things go extinct. We’re starting to put together types of
data that we never dreamed would have been possible before. And what this is
allowing us to do is address new questions about how plants are
distributed around the globe. And by understanding that, we can understand how climate change will be disrupting those patterns. People in the museum and elsewhere
on campus are doing similar sorts of studies on birds, on mammals, on
amphibians, on reptiles. And together, we’re developing this really new and
exciting view of what our planet really looks like. I think a lot of times people might tune
out about extinctions, about deforestation. Sometimes the problem just seems too big to do anything about it. Instead, though, I think it’s really a
time for hope and excitement that we can come up with some good solutions for how to combat these big environmental problems that we’re facing.

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