Welcome to the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario
Biodiversity measures the variation of life shaped through ecology and evolution from genes to species and ecosystems. Genetic variation plays a critical role in the ability of individuals and species to respond and adapt to environmental change while the diversity of species within and between ecosystems provides significant advantages to ecosystem function and resilience. One of the ironies of biological research is that after more than 250 years of dedicated biological science, the total number of species within any country or region remains unknown. While we often have a good idea of the identities and ecological roles of the larger, more charismatic animals (birds, mammals) the truth of the matter is that most of life is small (insects, bacteria, fungi) and currently undescribed. Shedding light onto these lesser known groups is important because all of the larger groups, including ourselves, depend on these smaller organisms for some part of their daily natural history. In order to protect and understand the diversity of life in Ontario, we must be able to know the species and ecosystems upon which humans, and our industry and lifestyle, depend.
Departmental News and Events
- U of G Science Project Captures Bug Barcodes and Kids' Interest
June 13, 2013 - A program designed by the University of Guelph to introduce children to science in their schoolyards has turned up hundreds of new insect DNA barcodes for a growing library of life on Earth. Under its School Malaise Trap Program, U of G’s Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO) gave traps to Grade 6 and 12 students in southwestern Ontario to collect insects in 60 schoolyards for two weeks. Read more.
- DNA Barcoding can Identify Unwanted Pests
June 11, 2013 - Ontario growers know that if agricultural pests accompany their products, they’ll be refused at foreign borders. Invasive “quarantine” pests are known to interfere with production and even compromise human health. Read more.
- Field Trip Leads to Close Encounters With Wildlife
April 8, 2013 - After their polar bear spotter shouted a warning, Kelsie Paris and her U of G classmates packed up and scrambled into the van. Only then did she realize that she’d left her digital camera out there on the tundra. Read more.