SWOSU Students to Present Biodiversity Posters April 19-23


Students in general ecology at Southwestern Oklahoma State University will present posters this Monday through Friday, April 19-23, in the Memorial Student Center on the Weatherford campus.

Faculty sponsor Dr. Peter Grant said the theme of the posters, biodiversity, was chosen to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on Thursday, April 22, and the United Nations declared 2010 to be the International Year of Biodiversity. The public is invited to view the posters and admission is free.

SWOSU students participating include:

Oil Spills Danielle Eck Waurika
Bioterrorism Dana Poling Oklahoma City
Overfishing Wendy Jones Mustang
Cheetahs Takara Hawkins Madill
Habitat Loss Jessica Pillow Elgin
Hurricanes Lianna Mueller Meno
Overhunting Jade Maddoux Sayre
Coral Reefs Courtney Jakubik Oklahoma City
Wolf Predation Craig Hobson Lahoma
Zebra Mussels Brittany McGinn Canton
Hydrothermal Vents Logan Howard Canton
Northern Snakehead Fish Tanner Volz Owasso
Large Marine Predators Stacey Creger Yukon
Oceanic Dead Zones Kate Hollenshead Cooper TX
Terrestrial Antarctic Animals Melanie Graham Carnegie
Tropical Rainforests Vanina ToffessiTcheuyap Yhounde, Cameroon

Grant said biologists estimate that there may be 8 to 14 million species of organisms in the world but only about two million have been described so far.  Many of these species are facing threats that have caused them to be listed as either threatened or endangered.  In the United States, 1,324 species are listed as either endangered or threatened by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 17 of which occur in Oklahoma.  The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation lists an additional five species as threatened or endangered.

There are many threats to biodiversity including habitat loss or degradation, over-exploitation, invasive species, human disturbance, pollution, natural disasters, changes in native species dynamics, incidental mortality, disease and persecution.

Grant said many scientists have published data supporting how diverse ecosystems help to maintain an environment that supports life on earth.  The benefits of biodiversity include air and water purification, detoxification, decomposition of wastes, nutrient cycling, climate regulation, regeneration of soil fertility, biological control, pollination and ecosystem resistance to perturbations (for example drought).