The Importance of Biodiversity

Ecological and habitat diversity is critical to the survival of humans. In this curated collection, learn how different species evolve to changing conditions and how humans impact endangered species. Use these resources in your science classroom to help students think critically about how to change the human behaviors that threaten plant and animal species.

  • What is Biodiversity?

    In this video from SciTech Now, Dr. Shahid Naeem explains what constitutes true diversity in nature. Utilizing video, discussion questions, teaching tips, and handouts, students will gain a thorough understanding of why biodiversity is so important in the natural world.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Three Levels of Biodiversity

    What's the difference between diversity in genees and species? Why are some species better than others at adapting to environmental changes? Learn more about specific levels of biodiversity, and see examples of plant and animal species and why they are important to each level.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Human Activities That Threaten Biodiversity | Biodiversity Course

    Human activities and population growth threaten biodiversity in almost every corner of our planet. Local threats to species richness include land-use changes, pollution, resource exploitation, and invasive species.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Reawakening Extinct Species

    Using new genetic technologies, scientists are trying to bring back extinct species. Meet researchers working to revive the passenger pigeon, once the most abundant bird in the world, and the woolly mammoth, which they say could slow down the melting of Arctic permafrost. It may be possible, but is it right to turn back the clock?


    Grades: 6-12
  • San Francisco Bay Invaders | QUEST

    Invasive species of mussels and fish are choking out native species in and around San Francisco Bay. Learn about experts from California who are working to change the human behaviors that encourage the spread of invasive species.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Bio-Inspiration: Nature as Muse | QUEST

    For hundreds of years, scientists have been inspired by design ideas from structures in nature. Now, biologists and engineers at the University of California at Berkeley are working together to design a broad range of new products including revolutionary adhesives and new methods of locomotion. Learn about their work in this video segment from KQED's QUEST.

    Grades: 6-12
  • California's Lost Salmon

    Salmon have disappeared from more than 40 percent of their range in the West. In this video from QUEST produced by KQED, learn about the important role these fish play in native ecosystems.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Disappearing Plants | Clue into Climate

    In this video slideshow and accompanying lesson from Clue into Climate, produced by KQED, students will learn that a slight change in average temperature in an area can result in different vegetation patterns. Students will also discover that climate models project widespread loss of habitat for about two-thirds of California’s plants, and that plants’ ability to withstand a rise in average temperatures is limited.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Bounty of Bees

    Our native honeybee population is in danger. In this video segment, adapted from QUEST, you'll learn about the work of pollination and our dire need to ensure that we have a strong population of honeybees.

    Grades: 6-8
  • Drive by Extinction | QUEST

    The Bay checkerspot butterfly is now categorized as a federally threatened species whose decline has been called “drive-by extinction.” In this audio report from QUEST produced by KQED, learn what biologists are doing to prevent its extinction. Students also explore how cars play a role in the decline of the Bay checkerspot butterfly and what is being done to increase the butterfly population.

    Grades: 2-13+
  • Giant Sequoias Struggle with Drought

    Explore how scientists collect samples of foliage and use spectral imaging to study levels of drought-induced stress in giant sequoia trees in California.

    Grades: 6-12