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Key Terms

BiologyKey Terms

adaptive radiation
rapid branching through speciation of a phylogenetic tree into many closely related species
variety of a biological system, typically conceived as the number of species, but also applying to genes, biochemistry, and ecosystems
biodiversity hotspot
concept originated by Norman Myers to describe a geographical region with a large number of endemic species and a large percentage of degraded habitat
bush meat
wild-caught animal used as food (typically mammals, birds, and reptiles); usually referring to hunting in the tropics of sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Americas
chemical diversity
variety of metabolic compounds in an ecosystem
disease of amphibians caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis; thought to be a major cause of the global amphibian decline
DNA barcoding
molecular genetic method for identifying a unique genetic sequence to associate with a species
ecosystem diversity
variety of ecosystems
endemic species
species native to one place
exotic species
(also, invasive species) species that has been introduced to an ecosystem in which it did not evolve
disappearance of a species from Earth; local extinction is the disappearance of a species from a region
extinction rate
number of species becoming extinct over time, sometimes defined as extinctions per million species–years to make numbers manageable (E/MSY)
genetic diversity
variety of genes in a species or other taxonomic group or ecosystem, the term can refer to allelic diversity or genome-wide diversity
number of ecological niches
large animals
secondary plant compound
compound produced as byproducts of plant metabolic processes that is usually toxic, but is sequestered by the plant to defend against herbivores
species-area relationship
relationship between area surveyed and number of species encountered; typically measured by incrementally increasing the area of a survey and determining the cumulative numbers of species
tragedy of the commons
economic principle that resources held in common will inevitably be overexploited
white-nose syndrome
disease of cave-hibernating bats in the eastern United States and Canada associated with the fungus Geomyces destructans
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