Biodiversity Loss, Animal Trafficking

by jbeach on February 9, 2015 - 9:11am

The objective of this blog is to address and provide a current discussion on animal trafficking and how it is impacting biodiversity.  The theme of biodiversity loss is not only impacted by animal trafficking, but also due to: habitat loss, overhunting/fishing, spread of disease, and the introduction of non-native species (which have with the potential to become invasive).

Before we can begin a conversation about biodiversity loss it is important to try to attempt to understand how many organisms have been discovered at the species level. While this answer may be controversial; it is an attempt to grasp what we think we know. According to the paper titled “How Many Species Are There on Earth and in the Ocean” (Adl et al. 2011), it is predicted that ~8.7 million (+/- 1.3 million) eukaryotic species exist globally, of which ~2.2 million (+/- 0.18 million) are marine, with 86% of existing species on earth and 91% of species located in the oceans still await description. This in itself presents a problem, because perhaps we are losing species too fast for them to be discovered. This could be due to influences beyond the scope of the topic of this blog such as: climate change, pollution, and ocean acidification to name a few. The next blog post will seek to explore what areas in the world are most impacted by animal trafficking; what animals are being imported or exported and from where, along with some of the consequencies or concerns reguarding this issue.


Adl S, Cora, A.G.B. Simpson, D.P. Tittensor, B. Worm. 2011. How Many Species Are there on Earth and in the Ocean? PLoS Biol 9(8): e1001127.

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