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International Biodiversity Observation Year

The Challenge Globally, biological diversity is being lost at all levels of organization, from genes to landscapes. This has been abundantly documented in the scientific literature. Biologists generally believe that these losses represent a threat to Earth System functioning and the well being of human societies. Yet, this message does not seem to be penetrating the general public's consciousness, much less into the policy-making and planning processes of many nations. In short, biologists as a whole have not yet made a compelling case for general concern and action about the losses of biodiversity that are being incurred and the consequences they have for society in general.

Raising the Global Profile of Biodiversity Science
The DIVERSITAS-IBOY, 2001-2002, aims to focus global attention on the critical issue of biological diversity and its contribution to Earth system functioning, through promoting biodiversity science. The launch date will be December 29, 2000, The United Nations International Day for Biological Diversity.

Exploration and Conservation of Anchialine Faunas – An IBOY Project
Anchialine habitats are flooded inland marine caves and groundwater that lack direct surface connection with the open sea. They are inhabited by remarkable animals, long term survivors of ancient lineages, which are threatened by changes in their fragile habitat. In recent years approximately 200 new species, 50 new genera, at least 10 new families, two new orders and even a new class of crustaceans (the Remipedia) have been described from anchialine caves, particularly on islands. This extraordinary degree of novelty qualifies anchialine habitats as uniquely important. However, it is the restricted distribution and isolation of such species, often to a single cave system on a single island, which renders them extremely vulnerable to anthropogenic change. Pressures on coastal ecosystems, including unsustainable levels of development for tourism and leisure industries, quarrying for limestone, and organic pollution, are threatening these habitats.

  • This and other DIVERSITAS-IBOY projects will:
    • push the frontiers of science
    • forge links across disparate elements
    • provide the basis for policy decisions
    • engage and educate the public.
  • The DIVERSITAS-IBOY projects showcase the vast spectrum of biodiversity science, addressing questions such as:
    • What do we have and where is it?
    • How is it changing?
    • What goods and services are provided by biodiversity?

For more information, contact the Secretariat (email: iboy@nrel.colostate.edu)

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