Biodiversity

Green Swamp
The Nature Conservancy

Eastern North Carolina is a part of one of the most ecologically diverse locations on the planet. But because of human activity, it is also one of the most threatened.

Thanks to those two factors, the entire North American Coastal Plain – stretching from Cape Cod to northern Mexico - has been designated as one of three-dozen global biodiversity hotspots.

The odorous house ant (Tapinoma sessile) was the most common species found in parks and forests, but was absent in street medians.
Adrian Smith

A new study out of North Carolina State University suggests there's a remarkably high diversity in the types of ants found in cities.

Published in the journal Insect Conservation and Diversity, the paper looks at different environments along Broadway Avenue in Manhattan. Researchers found more than 20 different species of ants in the median of the road alone. They found more than 20 other species in the surrounding parks and urban forests.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Rain forests are home to an incredible variety of species. From cute olinguitos to slimy spittlebugs, scientists are discovering creatures all the time. The exhibit "Rainforest Adventure" at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences educates kids on rain forest diversity and conservation.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/14580956@N08/2955070592
Rob Bixby / RobBixbyPhotography, Flickr Creative Commons

A new study from Duke University shows the importance of maintaining key species to support biodiversity. 

Researchers manipulated the populations of crabs, snails and fungus in a salt marsh in Georgia.  Brian Silliman is an associate professor of marine conservation biology at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment.  He says each species provides an important function in preserving the marsh.