Biodiversity Loss


Human interference has altered the composition of ecosystems across the world through biodiversity loss. Biodiversity loss occurs when an organism becomes extinct; this can be accomplished by introducing an invasive species, killing a species to extinction, removing the habitat of a species, and other such ways. Biodiversity loss can also occur due to the result of human activities. Acts such as overhunting can cause a species’ population to dip below the point of recovery. Similarly, removing essential foliage can also increase biodiversity loss. This biodiversity loss can disrupt the balance of an ecosystem to the point of destruction [1]. 

Robotic Solutions for Biodiversity Loss

  • There exist several robotic solutions created to address the issue of biodiversity loss. For example, the company Robotics in Service of the Environment (RSE) works to maintain the balance of ecosystems by reducing the number of invasive lionfish on the Atlantic coast.
  • Crown-of-Thorns Starfish (COTS) is a venomous and invasive species, as these starfish feed on coral reefs and are responsible for an estimated 40% of the Great Barrier Reef’s total decline in coral cover (Zeldovich, 2019). To solve this, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia developed the COTSbot and RangerBot, which can inject COTS with a fatal dose of bile salts—the same way teams of human divers also eliminate the starfish from the reef—with a 99% accuracy rate at detecting the starfish amongst the coral. Yet, the COTSbot was not designed to operate alone; rather, currently, it thins the field for human divers and has the potential to one day work in robotic swarms across the reef. 

To see robotic solutions developed to fight against Biodiversity loss, click here.

To deep dive into the academic research about Biodiversity loss, click here.

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[1] Cardinale, B. J., Duffy, J. E., Gonzalez, A., Hooper, D., Perrings, C., Venail, P., Narwani, A., Mace, G., Tilman, D., Wardle, D. A., Kinzig, A. P., Daily, G. C., Loreau, M., Grace, J. B., Larigauderie, A., Srivastava, D. S., & Naeem, S. (2012). Biodiversity loss and its impact on humanity. Nature, 486(7401), 59–67.