The Living Earth CollaborativeTM at Washington University in St. Louis is dedicated to advancing the knowledge of biodiversity and to ensuring the future of earth’s species in their many forms.

The center celebrates the diversity of living organisms and seeks to promote further understanding of the ways humans can help to preserve the varied natural environments that allow plants, animals and microbes to survive and thrive. 

The center exists as a collaborative hub that facilitates interdisciplinary research among plant and animal biologists, and scholars across a wide range of fields.

The center aims to bring together the world’s top minds in the field of biodiversity in an international collaborative that transcends geographic and political boundaries to address the most pressing issues facing humankind – the ability to sustain life on earth.

An Urgent Matter

There is nothing more important at this moment in time than the ability to sustain life on our planet. The study of biodiversity provides a critical window into the ecosystems and environments that support all living organisms. What we can learn through the study of biodiversity may ultimately be the key to continuation of life on earth.

According to new research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Earth is undergoing a biological annihilation.
Source: http://www.pnas.org/content/114/30/E6089.short

Global populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles declined by 58 percent between 1970 and 2012. We could witness a two-thirds decline in the half-century from 1970 to 2020.
Source: WWF Living Planet Report, 2016

One in five of the world’s plant species is threatened with extinction, putting supplies of food and medicines at risk.
Source: 2016 State of the World’s Plants report, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Although extinction is a natural phenomenon, occurring at background rate of one to five species a year, scientists estimate we’re now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate, with literally dozens going extinct every day.
Source: Chivian, E. and A. Bernstein (eds.) Sustaining life: How human health depends on biodiversity. Center for Health and the Global Environment. Oxford University Press, New York.

Major threats to biodiversity include habitat loss, species overexploitation (unsustainable hunting, poaching, harvesting, deforestation), pollution, invasive species and disease, and climate change.
Source: WWF Living Planet Report, 2016