Biodiversity (biological diversity) research is an emerging field of study that aims to encapsulate the variance of Earth’s biology. Measurements of biodiversity, also known as sampling takes place at three distinct levels: variety of genes, variety of species and variety of ecosystems. Biodiversity encompasses the continually evolving and interconnected complexities between organisms and their environments, including anthropogenic influences in natural environments.
As humans interact with the natural world, we can create multiple problems within it. Humans routinely clear forests by cutting them down or burning parts of them to make space for agriculture. We use pesticides on plants that we grow and deliberately rid acreage of all unwanted species, as seen in monoculture practices. Humans civilizations also have an impact on the planet’s average surface and water temperatures by burning fossil fuels which results in increasing greenhouse gases levels. In making changes to the natural world, humanity risks upsetting the delicate balances in ecosystems that other species depend upon for survival.
Genes, Species and Ecosystem Diversity
The variety of life on Earth is constructed of a vast network of multiple organisms that interact with each other and their environments. As organisms evolve over time, their genetic material changes to fit their survival needs and lifestyles. Genes are the molecular units that determines the proteins and growth functions of an organism’s cells. If an organism is survives long enough and reproduces, then some of its genetic material will be passed on to its offspring.
Organisms that have the most genetic material in common- and that are able to interbreed- are considered to be of the same species. Species are a ranking class that biologist use to group like-organisms. Ecologists and researchers are most often interested in species richness, the number of different species in an area, and species abundance, the number of individuals per species, to determine the biodiversity of a region.
Species tend to occupy regions that fit the conditions of their survival. This means that the environments that species are able to inhabit depend upon the factors within that environment. The biotic and abiotic factors of an organism’s habitat is known as its ecosystem. Ecosystems are the nutrient and energetic processes which are carried out in an area. Ecosystems consist of communities of organisms in various types of biomes. The broad list of Earth’s biomes include deserts, mountains, tundras, grasslands, tropical forests and temperate forests.