One of my assignments this past week was to pick a short passage from my reading selections and annotate it by inserting hyperlinks to words, ideas, or concepts that I found interesting, provocative, or puzzling. I picked Many: The Diversity of Life on Earth, by Nicola Davies, a lovely book about the vast variety of life on earth and our influence on it.
Here is my hyperlinked text:
How many different kinds of living things are there on our planet? One, two, three, MANY! Yes! There are so many! From big things, like elephants and oak trees… to small things, like mushrooms… and microbes. Everywhere you look, there are living things. In deserts… on islands far out at sea… under the feathers of birds and on the backs of beetles… even in places where you would think nothing at all could live, like boiling volcanic lakes.
Counting how many kinds there are can be difficult, because some places are hard to look in… like the tops of tall trees in the jungle… or the bottom of the coldest seas. It can also be difficult because, sometimes, things that look different are really the same… and things that look the same are really different. But mainly it’s difficult because there are just so many living things!
So far, human beings have found and counted almost two million different kinds of living things. But that’s only the start. There could be many millions more. Thousands of new species are found every year. And the more we find, the more we learn about how living things depend on one another- for food, for places to live, and for ways to grow. We have learned that every kind of living thing is part of a big, beautiful, complicated pattern.
Davies, N. (2017). Many: The diversity of life on earth. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.