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today we're going to address how biodiversity is studied the roots of modern ideas about documenting biodiversity grew out of a basic human need to satisfy curiosity to collect objects to learn about them and show them off to friends the same drive that leads you to show off your photos of your latest vacation on social media or write off your new high-tech handheld gadget but of course in the late 1500s and early 1600s where I want to start this technology didn't exist but enthusiasts back then had it covered in what came to be known as a wunderkammer literally a wonder room intended to reveal the world and it's marvels in microcosm owners of wonder rooms filled them with curiosities from around the globe by doing so they also showed the owners worldliness their knowledge and even wealth underscored by the curiosity and need to know what's out there and what natural resources might be available these vunda kamar contained cabinets of curiosity actual furniture with cubby holes and shells for all kinds of things like skeletons and shells and tusks horns minerals dried plants anything that could be kept and preserved for others too well wonder at or be curious about that human joy of discovery and keeping stuff to show off led to the one room becoming wonder rooms by the mid 1700s and scientists though back then they didn't call themselves that most were natural philosophers began to organize their collections and their knowledge about them drawing on another human trait the need to name things and classify or categorize them so you can communicate about them so we have the birth of the science of taxonomy the naming of things right alongside the birth of Natural History collections and museums and that brings us to Linnaeus who between 1735 and 1768 published 12 editions of what is now regarded as the cornerstone taxonomy the systema naturai organizing knowledge of living things into a hierarchical system and naming each species with what we now call binomial nomenclature in which every species receives a two-word name genus and species conservation efforts were also born at this time due in part to the effect that past wantin collecting had had on natural populations sometimes the thirst for one of everything got kind of out of a hand for example collecting bird eggs became popular and prices went crazy especially for unusual eggs rare ones like those of the flightless Great Auk led to collecting that likely contributed to the birds extinction laws were introduced to protect them but it was too late the last gray docks were collected from a small island off Iceland in 1844 many of these curiosities and collections were gathered on global expeditions these expeditions were part of the colonial imperative at the time but there were other motivations to including acquisition of knowledge expeditions were organized and sponsored by governments and rich individuals one of the most famous expeditions led by Captain Fitzroy was the voyage of the British vessel Her Majesty's ship beagle the voyage lasted five years from December 1831 to October 1836 and among the crew was a young man who was ostensibly there to use his upbringing in his education to keep captain Fitzroy company and well frankly sane on this long voyage from home this companion was also very interested in Natural History and went on to use his discoveries in the Atlantic South America Tahiti Australia the Indian Ocean and especially the Galapagos Islands to describe the nature of evolution and natural selection and we're speaking of course of Charles Robert Darwin as much has been said and written about mr. Darwin already I won't say too much except to emphasize how his original aim to study the diversity of organisms like the mockingbirds and tortoises of the Galapagos while on the voyage of the Beagle contributed to his major discoveries of the most important underpinnings of biological science the process of evolution by which new species originated he led us from Wonder rooms to endless forms most beautiful and wonderful as he states in the last paragraph of his book on the origin of species by means of natural selection other expeditions set out to explore the Seas themselves one of those was also British the expedition of the HMS challenger from 1872 to 1876 and led by Charles whyville Thompson at the time the only marine life known was from the shallows people weren't even sure how deep the oceans were nor were they fully convinced that life could even exist in the deepest darkest parts of the ocean Thompson and his crew outfitted the former naval vessel challenger for science removing the guns and placing nets aboard for trawling and they added nearly 300 kilometres that's over a hundred and eighty miles of sounding lines to determine depths they traveled 127,000 580 kilometers and that's seventy nine thousand two hundred forty miles they made about 500 soundings and collected more than 130 deep sea samplings by trawl and throughout they collected organisms they preserve them in brine or an alcohol the Challenger team discovered 4,700 new species proving the ocean depths were full of life much of it like nothing ever seen before and even today scientists still use modernized versions of the eclectic equipment invented for the Challenger expedition for ongoing deep-sea fieldwork field expeditions remain the most effective way to find and document biodiversity there's nothing like having the human power the boots the eyes cameras microscopes etc on the ground in the air or under the water today however wherever more mindful of our impact on natural ecosystems and their wild populations how can we send out a message or a call to action to preserve species richness if we're not ourselves careful about depleting natural populations collecting today is done only when necessary and by taking as few individuals as possible while still fulfilling a scientific goal we follow international rules and treaties we obtain permits from national and local authorities and we try to stay abreast of the conservation status of the organisms and the ecosystems that are the focus of our research one of the greatest assets we use in the field today and a definite change from the early days of expeditions are the local people we partner with them at our field sites not only to learn from their enthusiasm and their local knowledge but also to share our knowledge and our resources to help inspire preservation and conservation right there in the midst of the very biodiversity that continues to drive our wonder and curiosity