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The Science of Climate Change

Climate change is no longer a distant threat or just a possibility, it is now a reality for all of us. In this pathway, Kevin Trenberth, a renowned climatologist, delves into the science behind climate change. He first introduces the climate system, its main components and forces.

Tackling the Plastic Crisis

Plastic pollution is by far the biggest threat to our oceans and this remains an incredibly tough problem to solve. Plastic credits could potentially serve as one of the much needed solutions for this crisis.

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The Scale of the Net Zero Challenge

The price of meeting net zero is estimated to be between $100-150 trillion over the next 30 years. Regardless of this cost, we need to reach net zero before climate change does irreversible damage to the environment and the economy.

ESG, Sustainability and Impact Jargon Buster

ESG, sustainability, impact… they all just mean green, right? Not quite. Despite being used often interchangeably, there are distinct differences between these terms.

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The Science of Climate Change

Climate change is no longer a distant threat or just a possibility, it is now a reality for all of us. In this pathway, Kevin Trenberth, a renowned climatologist, delves into the science behind climate change. He first introduces the climate system, its main components and forces.

Tackling the Plastic Crisis

Plastic pollution is by far the biggest threat to our oceans and this remains an incredibly tough problem to solve. Plastic credits could potentially serve as one of the much needed solutions for this crisis.

More pathways

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Expert led content

+1,000 expert presented, on-demand video modules

Learning analytics

Keep track of learning progress with our comprehensive data

Interactive learning

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Testing & certification

Gain CPD / CPE credits and professional certification

Managed learning

Build, scale and manage your organisation’s learning

Integrations

Connect Sustainability Unlocked to your current platform

Featured Content

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The Scale of the Net Zero Challenge

The price of meeting net zero is estimated to be between $100-150 trillion over the next 30 years. Regardless of this cost, we need to reach net zero before climate change does irreversible damage to the environment and the economy.

ESG, Sustainability and Impact Jargon Buster

ESG, sustainability, impact… they all just mean green, right? Not quite. Despite being used often interchangeably, there are distinct differences between these terms.

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Introduction to Biodiversity

Introduction to Biodiversity

Samuel Temidayo Osinubi

Avian ecologist

What is a species? How do we categorise animals and environments? How does our exploitation of the Earth continue to affect ecological balances? Answering these questions is the key to understanding biodiversity. Join Samuel Temidayo Osinubi as he dives into these topics.

What is a species? How do we categorise animals and environments? How does our exploitation of the Earth continue to affect ecological balances? Answering these questions is the key to understanding biodiversity. Join Samuel Temidayo Osinubi as he dives into these topics.

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Introduction to Biodiversity

15 mins 29 secs

Overview

There are many layers to understanding biodiversity. A species is a group of living organisms consisting of similar individuals capable of exchanging genes or interbreeding naturally to produce fertile offspring. There are numerous species concepts such as the phenetic, evolutionary and phylogenetic. Species concepts do not only determine what a species is, but by agreeing on what a species is, we can also then speak about what speciation is and identify what drives it. An ecosystem contains species of plants and animals interacting with each other as well as with their natural environment. Lastly, we have flagship species (identified as icons or ambassadors for an environmental cause, more for their ability to rouse public interest in the conservation) and keystone species (whose presence and actions help define and maintain their ecosystem).

Key learning objectives:

  • Define species

  • Understand ecosystems and ecoregions

  • Identify the difference between flagship and keystone species

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Summary

What is a species? 

A species is a group of living organisms consisting of similar individuals capable of exchanging genes or interbreeding naturally to produce fertile offspring. Better known as the biological species concept, this is the most used definition of what a species is in general literature. 

What is an ecosystem? 

An ecosystem, or ecological system, is a discrete unit within which biotic and abiotic elements interact. Biotic elements are the flora and fauna within the unit, while the abiotic comprises the climatic (light, temperature, water, atmospheric gases), topographic (altitude, gradient) and edaphic (largely soil based).

What are biotic trophic levels? 

Biotic trophic levels are used to describe a species’ role and level within the food web. 

The three basic trophic roles are producers or autotrophs, which are typically plants and algae that take nutrients from the soil or aquatic environment to produce their own food with sunlight, which is photosynthesis. 

The second role is that of a consumer or heterotroph, which cannot produce their own food and need to consume other organisms, with herbivores consuming plants and carnivores consuming other animals. 

The third role is that of a decomposer or detritivore, which are typically bacteria and fungi that break down dead plant and animal material into mineral nutrient for use by producers and for abiotic cycles. 

What is a flagship species? 

Flagship species are identified as icons, symbols or ambassadors for an environmental cause more for their ability to rouse public interest in the conservation of the species, its habitat and/or broader conservation agendas. Flagship species are typically in danger of extinction and are considered to be popular, charismatic and ‘cute and cuddly’. For example, the elephant, the panda, the rhino. 

What is a keystone species? 

Keystone species are those whose presence and actions help define and maintain their ecosystem. Keystone species may not necessarily be the largest or most numerous species within an ecosystem. One example is of the dam-building abilities of beavers. These dams affect the flow rate and oxygenation of waterways, creating a thriving environment for other species as well as itself. 

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Samuel Temidayo Osinubi

Samuel Temidayo Osinubi

Samuel Temidayo Osinubi is an avian behavioural ecologist who has worked in a variety of roles across multiple continents. His academic background includes a postdoctoral fellowship at the Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology in Cape Town, South Africa, a PhD from the School of Biological Sciences in Christchurch, New Zealand, and an MSc from the AP Leventis Ornithological Research Institute in Jos, Nigeria. He has worked in various capacities with BirdLife International, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, the Royal Society for the Conservation of Birds, Fauna and Floral International, the UN Convention on Migratory Species, and also enjoys time on cruise ships as an expedition lecturer. His core values are centred around achieving set conservation project objectives and opening doors for wider collaborations. He sees himself as a bridge between diverse points of view and backgrounds.

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