Biodiversity and Conservation: The Web of Life

Our planet is literally teeming with life. An amazing variety of habitats, people, plants, and animals—everything from penguins to peas and bacteria to buffalo—are all interconnected in a fragile web of life we call “biodiversity.” And every member is essential to keeping this web in balance.

What’s the problem?
To date, about 1.4 million species have been identified, and researchers estimate that millions more have yet to be counted…but unfortunately, time is running out. Thousands of species may be vanishing each year as a result of pollution, over-harvesting, habitat degradation, and other human actions.

Why should we care?
Extinction isn’t just a loss for science; it’s a loss for us. We depend upon biodiversity in our everyday lives to supply us with a healthy environment and many natural materials that are sources for food, medicine, and other economically important products.

How are we helping?

  • Scientists at The Field Museum and other institutions are working together to:
  • Study and document new and extinct species of plants and animals
  • Understand the relationships between species and their habitats
  • Design conservation strategies that protect important areas of biodiversity
  • Train the next generation of conservation scientists
  • Build the scientific and conservation skills of local people in their home countries

To find out more about biodiversity and conservation, please select a topic:

Investigate Biodiversity
Get the basic facts about biodiversity and the issues that affect us all. You’ll also discover how Field Museum’s scientists, collections, and public outreach programs help preserve our planet’s amazing array of life.

Year of Biodiversity and Conservation
Check out the various educational events, exhibits, and workshops that are part of our “Year of Biodiversity and Conservation”—a nine-month program examining some of the key environmental problems and possible solutions facing our planet.

Meet the Scientists
Meet The Field Museum’s many anthropologists, zoologists, botanists, and geologists that work together on cutting-edge biodiversity research and conservation projects. You’ll uncover surprising details about the inspirations that led these men and women to a career in science.

Explore Global Diversity
Travel around the world with Field Museum scientists in an interactive experience that lets you investigate our planet’s web of life.

Events and Programs
Plan your next trip to The Field Museum around our exciting biodiversity and conservation-related events and programs.

Take Action!
Find out what you can do help protect Earth’s nature and natural resources. You’ll be amazed by the opportunities that the City of Chicago and other organizations offer to help us all become better caretakers of the environment.

Teaching Biodiversity
Take a look at The Field Museum’s many educational programs, workshops, and downloadable teacher’s guides that can help you spread the news about biodiversity and conservation issues.

Biodiversity Exhibitions
Explore the most fragile ecosystems on Earth and examine the wildlife that lives there through Field Museum exhibitions that take you to some of our planet’s most breathtaking yet vulnerable places.