Biodiversity: all bark and no bite?
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The biological sciences, including zoology, arose out of our fascination with nature’s diversity. We strive to identify and catalogue that diversity and to understand how it evolved and what our impacts on it are. The biodiversity tail has always wagged the zoological dog. The word “biodiversity” has a defined meaning to biologists but many other meanings in the wider community. We have a responsibility to ensure that the original meaning is understood so that it retains its importance in the conservation debate. This will be achieved if we take a high profile as scientists in the struggle to preserve the Earth’s biodiversity. The biodiversity dog will also have bite if we continue to conduct high quality science in the name of biodiversity research. Research of this kind is occurring in the Key Centre for Biodiversity and Bioresources at Macquarie University. It is also important that biologists advocate the scientific values of biodiversity through bodies such as the National Biodiversity Council.