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Biodiversity, Genetic Resources, Endangered Species and Conservation

Biodiversity and Genetic Resources


Nikolai Ivanovich Vavilov – Education Publication Forthcoming:

Seeds of Civilization to the Brink of Starvation – Introducing and Teaching Nikolai Vavilov and Biodiversity to a New Generation

One year after being elected President of the International Congress on Genetics, Nikolai Vavilov was imprisoned. How could a prominent Russian geneticist and explorer simultaneously earn distinction and animosity? There is an imperative in answering this question, being to expose new students to Vavilov’s accomplishments and sacrifices. This paper presents Vavilov’s life in the context of biodiversity through an educational ‘reader’ aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards’ core idea for biodiversity. It focuses on three accomplishments: (i) Vavilov’s principles for collecting biodiversity while recognizing its vulnerability, (ii) his evolving views on the ‘center of origin’ and diversity of global food crops, and (iii) his anticipation of the need for reliable conservation repositories. This prompted Vavilov to save biodiversity in one of the first modern conservation facilities. Despite persecution by Joseph Stalin, Vavilov’s legacy remains, and  is examined by students answering the concluding questions calling for critical thinking and independent research.

In addition the ‘reader’ establishes a case for the posthumous award of the World Food Prize ( to Vavilov for meritorious attempts to defeat famine through crop improvement.

From forthcoming collection, “Scientists Finding Courage”


Global Climate Change

  • Addressing Effects of Climate Change: Realities and Possibilities for Plant Biotechnology in the Developing World. Cohen, J.I. and N. Rosenberg. Pages 147-158 in N. Rosenberg (ed.) The Applications of Biotechnology to the Mitigation of Greenhouse Warming -Proceedings from an international conference. Battelle Press, Columbus, Ohio. 2004

Events, Publications, and Educational Approach


  1. Staff sponsors: Ida Lopez, Department of Botany. Intern for the Plant DNA Barcode Project at the Smithsonian Institution Museum of Natural History, Botany Department. Responsibilities: linking herbariums specimens to genetic samples for the Plant DNA Barcode Project, including care, handling and evaluation of botanical collections, securing final data repositories of DNA sequences and exposure to the value of collections. Included in internship are seminars and lectures on various fields of study held at the museum.
  2. Staff Sponsors: Vicki Funk and Mauricio Diazgranados. Advance geo-referencing of Don José Cuatrecasas Arumí's plant photographs and collections. Making information available online for research and the general public. Catalogued and referenced many of his thousands of plants (ca. 25,000) and anthropological specimens from Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador between 1932 and 1979.

For more information, please see:


May 2016.

Endangered Species Day at Parkland Magnet Middle School. Third year of engaging students with living reptiles and amphibians in classroom setting. Presentation conducted by the breeders of Black Rock Reptiles.

2014 – 2016. Over the past three years, I have organized annual endangered species and biodiversity event with Black Rock Reptiles ( Under the supervision and direction of conservationist/breeder, Mr. Nic Bugg, BRR presents 15 species of extant, endangered/protected animals in my classroom, covering all class periods to ensure every student has an "up close and hands on" experience. Students handle, learn, and develop life histories for them. The event is prepared and coordinated with National Endangered Species Day:

The species list and capture sheet for this presentation is shown below, developed specifically for the species to be shown in class, listing what is known of their conservation status. PDF Format.


The above mentioned event with BRR is only one part of a broader unit on biodiversity, as taught within the evolution unit. The approach under development is found in the following article:

The biodiversity and ethics survey is available from the author.

Author's Bookshelf

Endangered and Extinct Species: Unique and Education-Oriented Books to engage students in discussion of and reports on endangered or extinct species --



Published by:

Endangered Species
Volume 1: Mammals
Volume 2: Arachnids, Birds, Crustaceans, Insects, and Mollusks
Volume 3: Amphibians, Fish, Plants and Reptiles

Rob Nagel; 1999

An imprint of Gale

Endangered Animals, Species Facing Extinction, and the Threats to their Habitats

Willi Dolder
Ursula Dolder-Pippke; 2009

Parragon Publishing, Bath UK

Endangered, Wildlife on the Brink of Extinction

George C. McGavin;

Firefly Books
Buffalo, New York

The Atlas of Endangered Species

Richard Mackay;

University of California Press
Berkeley, CA

Extinct Animals, An Encyclopedia of Species that Have Disappeared during Human History

Ross Piper;

Greenwood Press,
Westport, CN

A Gap in Nature, Discovering the World's Extinct Animals

Tim Flannery and Peter Schouten;

Atlantic Monthly Press,
New York

Dinosaurs to Dodos, An Encyclopedia of Extinct Animals

Don Lessem; 1999

Scholastic Reference

How to Clone A  Mammal, The Science of De-Extinction

Beth Shapiro; 2015

Princeton University Press

Ivory Crisis

Ian Parker, Mohamed Amin; 1983

Chatto and Windus
London UK

Tracking the Vanishing Frog – An Ecological Mystery

Kathryn Phillips;

Penguin Books
New York, New York

The Auk, The Dodo, and the Oryx: Vanished and Vanishing Creatures

Robert Silverberg; 1967

Apollo Editions,
Thomas Y. Crowell Company
New York, New York

Dragons in Amber

Willey Ley; 1949

The Viking Press,
New York, New York

The Annihilation of Nature – Human Extinction of Birds and Mammals

Gerardo Ceballos, Anne H. Ehrlich, and Paul Ehrlich; 2015

 John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland