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6: Functional Diversity - Life History Traits

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    Diversity.pngScientists have estimated that there are ~8.7 million species on Earth. How does one planet support such enormous diversity of species? The answer relates to the impressive functional diversity (Fig 6.0.1) that organisms display – that is, the diversity in strategies and adaptations that different organisms have for surviving in their environment. The functional diversity sections address different strategies and adaptations for acquiring nutrients and resources from the environment, dealing with stressful environmental conditions (ex. heat stress), succeeding at or defending against predation, and successfully completing the life cycle.

    This chapter focuses on life history strategies and adaptations that plants and animals exhibit, and the trade offs that different life history traits confer.

    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Schematic of the magnitude and type of diversity exhibited at different scales. This section focuses on functional group diversity. Figure by L Gerhart-Barley.

    Title Image Credit: Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources - Forestry,;

    6: Functional Diversity - Life History Traits is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Laci M. Gerhart-Barley.

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