Biodiversity

Biodiversity is the variety of all life on Earth. It includes all the Earth’s habitats and the species that live in them, from the smallest micro-organisms to huge mammals like the blue whale.

Humans depend on biodiversity for food, fuel and other vital services, yet human activity is causing biodiversity to decline. As habitats are destroyed, as alien species are introduced into new areas, and as the planet warms, more and more species are coming under threat. Many of these species are studied by scientists at the Museum and are featured in the categories below.

  • A pair of South China tigers
    Endangered species

    Find out about some of the species that are at risk of extinction as the climate warms up, habitats are lost and land uses change.

  • A Caribbean coral reef
    Climate change

    Global warming is causing many habitats to change and seasons to arrive earlier or later than they used to. Find out about some of the species that are struggling to adapt to these changes and others that are taking advantage of them.

  • Ornithoptera alexandrae
    Loss of habitat

    Many species are affected by changes in land use, deforestation, urbanisation and modern farming practices, all of which can cause habitat loss. Here are some of the species at risk.

  • Four puparia of spiralling whitefly display their highly characteristic waxy secretions
    Economic impact

    Humans depend on the natural world for food, fuel and other resources so any changes in our environment have an economic cost. Find out about agricultural pests and other species that damage local economies.

  • Chinese mitten crab, Eriocheir sinensis
    Invasive species

    Introducing alien, or non-native, species to a new environment can cause conservation problems as they do not have any natural predators there. Find out more about some of the world's major 'pests'.