How would you define this big idea?
Species biodiversity is a fundamental aspect of the structure and function of natural communities. It reflects both the number of species in a community and the relative abundance of those species; more species and more equitable abundance of the species increase diversity. Diversity is determined by processes at a variety of scales including: (1) the regional species pool as produced by geological and evolutionary history; the variability of different habitats at the landscape scale; and species interactions at local scales. Of course, human impacts occur at all these scales (unintentional or intentional species introduction; over-exploitation), which frequently has negative effects on biodiversity. Unfortunately biodiversity is known to positively affect a number of important ecosystem properties such as their productivity, capacity to recycle nutrients, and maintain their functioning when challenged with natural and human disturbance. Thus, preserving biodiversity is therefore not simply a matter of conserving warm, fuzzy or charismatic creatures.
How is this big idea included in your work?
I would like to create biodiversity modules for relevant classes or participate in teaching where this perspective is warranted. I could also help with SLS projects designed to measure biodiversity as part of their analysis of the community.