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The idea of "biodiversity" has become increasingly important for those who wish to preserve and protect the varieties of life on Earth. While most works on biodiversity look at only three components - the diversity of genes, of species, and of ecosystems - "Understanding Biodiversity" examines the diversity of life in all its manifestations. The living world is diverse in many ways - animals and plants vary greatly in their size and shape, in their behaviour, in how they reproduce, and in how they sense the surrounding world.
This book shows how each form of biodiversity has an intrinsic value - for humans, and for the living world as a whole - that should be better understood and appreciated by everyone, not just those in the scientific community. Through such comprehension and appreciation, we should come to value and protect biodiversity more than is currently the case. Humanity can only gain from such an expanded view of biodiversity. In addition to discussing the importance of understanding biodiversity, the author provides examples and explanations of the types of diversity: diversity "within" species; diversity "above" the species level; genetic diversity; diversity of ecosystems and ecological interactions; four billion years of temporal diversity; morphological diversity; metabolic diversity; sensory diversity; reproductive and sexual diversity; life cycle diversity; and behavioural and cultural diversity.