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- Teaching resources
Ever met an "...ologist"? How about an "...ist"? Research scientists specialise in identifying, classifying and studying a different group of organisms. Each has a different name for their particular field of science.
Plants, animals and fungi can be difficult to see easily - especially if they are very small, very shy or well camoflagued. Hence scientists use a variety of tools and techniques to help find what they are looking for.
Biodiversity is the variety of life — it has several components: ecosystems or environments, species, genetic diversity, ethno-biodiversity.
Taxonomy is the practice and science of classifying life forms. Their are 8 main taxonomic ranks: Life, Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species.
The Fungi Kingdom is more diverse than the Plant Kingdom. Fungi are more closely related to animals than plants.
About 20% of fungal species live with a photosynthetic partner – mostly green algae but sometimes cyanobacteria – together they become lichens.
Most mycorrhizal fungi are divided into two broad catergories based on whether they live outside or inside the roots of plants.
Centipedes have been on earth for about 450 million years, even before dinosaurs. Centipedes have lots of eggs, are carnivores (they can kill or parlyse their prey with venom-laden claws) and are mostly nocturnal.
The oldest known fossils are from 480 million years ago. Millipdes do not have millions of legs, they don't bite or sting and and if threatened they curl up into a tight ball.
Insects have been on earth for about 380 million years. About 25,000 species of insects live in New Zealand — 90% occur nowhere else in the world.