Earth is on the brink of mass extinction


09/03/2011

Earth is on the verge of a mass extinction of species, which will be the sixth in the last 540 million years. Reduced populations of many species of animals, led to speculation in the scientific community that the Earth may be on the brink of mass extinction, not inferior in its scope the previous five, which occurred in the last 540 million years.

During each of the "Big Five", became extinct more than three-quarters of all animal species. The study is published in the journal Nature.

"At this time died from 1 to 2 percent of all kinds, from those groups for which we can maintain accurate records. Therefore, it is too late to stop this trend," - said Anthony Barnoski, a biologist at the University of California.

"Just because the size of extinction is low, compared with the largest mass extinction events that occurred half a billion years ago does not mean they are not important," - said co-author Charls Marshall.

"The current rate of extinction than the one observed during the mass extinctions of the past."

The study begins with seminars organized Barnoski for biologists and paleontologists to make a comparative analysis of the rate of extinction in the past and the present.

Loss species when combined with each of the existing human species on all continents lead to what is called ecological "homogenization" (averaged). Those relatively few species that will survive this mass extinction, will be extremely common. Markedly reduced levels of biological diversity.

Biological diversity is more important than most people think. In a diverse ecosystem, reducing the population of some species, is compensated by the others who occupy the vacant ecological niche. The less diverse ecosystem, the greater the effect on the loss of her kind.

Thus, biodiversity stabilizes ecosystems. The state of the ecosystem depends on our life. Even by the most conservative estimates, the value of all products made ecosystem is greater than the GDP (gross domestic product) of all mankind.

If the trend continues to reduce biodiversity, followed by the economy may follow, and then the rest of society. The solution to this problem, save the lives of many people.

Original: Astrobio


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