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Exploring Biodiversity on Fathom: science, policy and the protection of biological variety

Fathom's sixth special Learning Center 'Exploring Biodiversity' introduces learners to the importance of studying biological diversity. Accompanied by an editor's introduction from Sandra Knapp of the Natural History Museum (UK), this special Fathom initiative highlights the expertise and resources of Fathom's fourteen world-class educational institutions, including the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Visitors can use this collection of original content to: Learn more about diverse species and environments - from sharks and pandas to tropical rainforests; read about deep-sea experiments and natural history voyages to previously unexplored regions; discover how genetic research can be used to protect biodiversity or to create new species; explore the relationship between environmental disturbance and disease.

Experts from Fathom's consortium of libraries, universities and museums explore the following key multidisciplinary subtopics. These themes challenge learners to critically analyse ongoing strategies to protect the Earth's diverse ecosystems and species. Each subtopic is supported by a robust collection of original courses, free seminars and features, as well as recommended reading and links:

  • Genetic variation
  • Ecosystem diversity
  • Past and present threats to biodiversity
  • History of biodiversity and research
  • Human influences on biodiversity
  • Species diversity
  • Ecosystem conservation
  • Marine and plant biodiversity

Contents include more than 100 features, 600 reference entries, 300 recommended books, and links to online resources, including:

Over 50 online courses, including 15 free seminars developed with experts from our consortium, such as:

  • Sustainable Tourism, by Tim Forsyth (London School of Economics)
  • Jaws: the natural history of sharks, by Michael Bright (Natural History Museum)
  • Toxic Blooms: understanding red tides, by Don Anderson (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
  • The Biology of Venomous Animals, by Zoltan Takacs (Columbia University)

Twelve affordable, short e-courses taught by leading Columbia University scholars, including:

  • Environmental Sustainability: perspectives on the world, by Mark Levy
  • The 'Medical Ecology: environmental disturbance and disease' series, by Dickson Despommier
  • The Intellectual and Cultural History of the United States, 1890-1945: the search for a scientific culture, by Casey Blake

Original content developed with more than 80 experts from fourteen educational institutions, including:

  • Yvonne Rydin, LSE - director of the MSc programme in Environmental Assessment and Evaluation. Rydin writes and researches widely on the British planning system and, more recently, on its relation to environmental issues and sustainable development.
  • Sandra Knapp, Natural History Museum (UK) - taxonomy expert and head of the NHM's international project, Flora Mesoamerciana, a synoptic inventory of the approximately 18,000 species of plants of the isthmus of Central America.
  • Richard Frankham, Jonathan Ballou and David Briscoe, Cambridge University Press - biodiversity experts and authors of Introduction to Conservation Genetics (Cambridge University Press, 2002).
  • Dickson Despommier, Columbia University - professor of public health and microbiology at Columbia University and author of Columbia University's short e-course series on 'Medical Ecology: environmental disturbance and disease.'

For more information, visit http://www.fathom.com/special/biodiversity|


30 August 2002