by Tom Moritz
Head Librarian, American Museum of Natural History
It's great to be back at the Academy. Thank for that introduction. I've been looking forward to this particular BioForum because it treats a theme that's very, very close to my heart. As Kristen mentioned back in 1990, we began the BioDiversity Resource Center here at the Academy and were actually a little ahead of the curve. In those days, it was before the Rio Convention and I remember some of our communications staff here suggested that we should change the name since no one would understand what biodiversity meant and it had too many syllables, anyway. Fortunately, things are a little bit different today.
What I'm going to do very briefly is just try and provide a context for today's speakers. It's my pleasure to be here in various capacities. I know each of the three speakers. I've come in contact at various points with each of them and I think we've got a very good, diverse forum for people to speak here today. You're going to get a really interesting look at how different people from different disciplines approach the issues of conservation biology.
So what I've got briefly is a little Power Point demonstration that I'll try and run through with you just to try and give you sort of an overview with respect to what conservation biology is and the context in which we practice conservation biology.
A brief definition of biodiversity, this is one we developed in the context of our Biodiversity Resource Center, broadly refers to diverse forms into which organisms evolve. It's considered at three levels: genetic diversity, species diversity, and ecosystem diversity -- which includes a variety of habitats and communities of different species and how they interact. It's a complex web. So that's a good overview.