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Variety of Life - Kingdoms Slideshow

Earth and species examples

Let's finish off this slideshow with a little reflection. Every species on Earth depends on the other species. You might not think about it while you sit in class, but you depend on fungi to decompose trees in the Pacific Northwest. Insects in the Amazon jungle depend on forests in Africa to filter the air that will eventually move across the Pacific Ocean. We all need to work together to maintain our delicate ecosystems.

Do things change? Of course. Our world will be a little different in five hundred years and very different in five thousand. Species come and go and ecosystems grow and disappear. Even with the changes, all of the species on our planet will continue to depend on each other.

What about species on other planets? Astronomers and astrobiologists are working every day to discover life on other planets. As we have said on other pages, there probably won't be a spaceship or radio transmission. We will probably find complex molecules in a puddle of water on another planet. If we do find life, it will look much different than anything we recognize on Earth. You need to keep an open mind and continue looking.

If you really want to discover new species, start here on Earth. There are many organisms to be discovered in our oceans. Even rainforests have thousands of small species that have not been identified. If you like extreme locations, maybe you should visit Antarctica and look beneath the ice. You probably won't find things alive, but there is a rich fossil history below the tons of ice. You need to keep exploring.

Image Credit: NASA/Andrew Rader Studios

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