A to Z of Australian Marine Life
Biodiversity is the variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or for the entire Earth. Biodiversity is often used as a measure of the health of biological systems. The biodiversity found on Earth today consists of many millions of distinct biological species, which is the product of nearly 3.5 billion years of evolution. Biodiversity provides many ecosystem services that are often not readily visible. It plays a part in regulating the chemistry of our atmosphere and water supply. Biodiversity is directly involved in water purification, recycling nutrients and providing fertile soils. Experiments with controlled environments have shown that humans cannot easily build ecosystems to support human needs; for example insect pollination cannot be mimicked by human-made construction, and that activity alone represents tens of billions of dollars in ecosystem services per annum to humankind.
The conservation of biological diversity is a global priority requiring strategic conservation plans that engage concerns affecting local, regional and global scales of communities, ecosystems, and cultures. The recent era we are living in is known to science as the Holocene extinction period, with the current extinction rate the most rapid loss of biodiversity when measured against the other five major extinction spasms recorded in the fossil record. Conserving biodiversity and action plans are needed to sustain human well-being and global economics, including natural capital, market capital, and ecosystem services.
The A-Z compilation of Marine Creatures is a small taste of our amazing Australian marine biodiversity most of which in some way may be effected by climate change through Ocean acidification and Habitat loss as a few examples.