is about the endangerment and extinction of entire species of plants and animals throughout the world due to human actions, beginning with the case study of the buffalo. Students learn about the value of biodiversity, from the discovery of new medicines and materials, to the protection of food crops and global systems. The current loss of biodiversity is put into perspective by involving the students in laboratory work where they see how species can adapt to changing conditions, learn theories about how new species evolve, and study the natural causes of extinctions. Further laboratory work illustrates the vital importance and fragility of soil in supporting entire communities of plants and animals; and how soil productivity is impacted by certain agricultural practices. Finally, students consider the history of actions that people around the world have taken to protect endangered species, up to current debates in Congress, and international agreements to preserve biodiversity.
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