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Biodiversity Discovery

Park ranger and young scientist.
Young scientist identifying insects with the help of the National Park Service Naturalist at Acadia National Park

Biodiversity refers to the variety of forms of life, habitats and ecosystems, and processes within a geographic area. National Park Service (NPS) lands are often considered refuges of biodiversity due to their relatively undisturbed state.

A lot is known about some species in parks, especially chordates (animals with backbones, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish) and vascular plants (plants with roots, stems, and leaves). Yet, the majority of species in parks, such as beetles, moths, lichens, and fungi, are undocumented, and new species are still waiting to be discovered.

Through All Taxa Biodiversity Inventories, Bioblitzes, and other efforts, many parks are working with citizens like you to discover, catalog, and learn more about the vast array of life in parks. By improving the understanding of biodiversity in parks, the National Park Service can better ensure that these protected ecosystems are able to withstand disturbances such as climate change and disease.

Join us in exploring and celebrating the heritage of our diverse natural resources.

Discover Biodiversity

We invite you to explore the history of biodiversity discovery in the National Park Service and view species scientists never knew existed before people like you got involved. You will also find a listing of current events occurring in national parks near you and links to programs completing similar work around the country. There is also a biodiversity informational brochure (PDF - 515 KB) available.

Biodiversity in the News

Dec. 10 | Filming Alaska's Yellow Billed Loons: A Youth Experience

Three Alaskan youth were given an amazing opportunity to explore and experience some of the most remote areas of Arctic Alaska in search of the rare yellow-billed loon. Watch and see what they found.

Aug. 7 | Marrero teen leads tours, helps keep Jean Lafitte Park tiptop

Youth Ambassador Caleb Ezelle

Fresh from the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz, meet Caleb. When this Biodiversity Youth Ambassador isn't tracking biodiversity in other parks he's keeping Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in "tiptop" shape. Find out how he does this.

Last Updated: December 10, 2015