National History Museum

Lectures on Biodiversity

Biodiversity Past and Present

2010 has been declared the International Year of Biodiversity by the United Nations. It is a celebration of life on earth and of the value of biodiversity for our lives. The National Museum, in partnership with the University of the Free State, will present a series of monthly lectures during the year, until October.

Biodiversity, which includes all living organisms on Earth, can be used as a measure of the health of biological systems and is also important as a service provider for essential ecological processes, such as pollination. Ironically, while biodiversity is to a large extent the basis for human existence, humans are directly or indirectly the cause of its destruction, contributing to another mass extinction. We should all join forces to halt this sad state of affairs. There are various ways to do this while keeping in mind that biodiversity reflects diversity as well as abundance. Important factors to consider in conserving our biodiversity include accurate monitoring of plant and animal populations, determining the impact of events, the power of food web interactions, habitat boundaries, and the stability and resilience of life forms after a catastrophic event or disturbance.

The first lecture in this series ‘More is better: The essence of biodiversity’, will be presented by Professor Schalk Louw of the Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of the Free State, on Thursday 11 March 19:00 in the Auditorium of the National Museum (36 Aliwal Street). Light refreshments will be served after the lecture and car guards will be present. Entrance is free, but since space is limited, please book in advance at direk [at] nasmus [dot] co [dot] za or phone Shirley at 051 447 9609.