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Biological diversity - or biodiversity - is a term used to describe the
variety of life on Earth. It refers to the wide variety of ecosystems and
living organisms: animals, plants, their habitats and their genes.
Biodiversity is the foundation of life on Earth. It is crucial for the
functioning of ecosystems which provide us with products and
services without which we couldn’t live. Oxygen, food, fresh water,
fertile soil, medicines, shelter, protection from storms and floods,
stable climate and recreation - all have their source in nature and
healthy ecosystems. But biodiversity gives us much more than this.
We depend on it for our security and health; it strongly affects our
social relations and gives us freedom and choice.

Biodiversity is extremely complex, dynamic and varied like no other

feature of the Earth. Its innumerable plants, animals and microbes
physically and chemically unite the atmosphere (the mixture of gases
around the Earth), geosphere (the solid part of the Earth), and
hydrosphere (the Earth's water, ice and water vapour) into one
environmental system which makes it possible for millions of species,
including people, to exist.

At the same time, no other feature of the Earth has been so

dramatically influenced by man’s activities. By changing biodiversity,
we strongly affect human well-being and the well-being of every other
living creature. (
Go to one of the major biodiversity collections and study it using the
Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) criteria.

The AZA, founded in 1924, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to

the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of
conservation, education, science, and recreation.
( AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums undergo a
thorough review that includes a detailed accreditation application as
well as a multiple day on-site inspection by a team of experts from
around the country. Information on how accreditation works can be
found at .

Examples of Biodiversity Collections on Oahu

 Waikiki Aquarium
 Bishop Museum
 Lyon Arboretum
 Foster Botanical Garden
 Sea Life Park
 Honolulu Zoo

AZA Criteria
 Quality of living environment
- look for appropriate sized cages
- good signage
- structure and walkways are in good repair
- energy and resource conservation
 High level of enrichment and care
- Exhibits for the physical, social and psychological well being
- behavioral enrichment
- social interactions
 Involvement in conservation
- interpretive programs (info on species conservation)
- breeding programs (rare species)
- participation in field conservation programs
 Active education programs
- good environmental education
- information on conservation issues, role of the institution,
contribution to local conservation, promotion of individual
- cooperative programs with institutions of higher learning
 Aesthetics
- attractive
- well maintained
- does design equal functionality


Describe your location, providing background information about the
Report 5 positive observations on this biodiversity collection.
Report the 5 most important “critical” observations on this biodiversity
collection and suggest specific remediation.