What Is Biodiversity?

Biodiversity (biological diversity) research is an emerging field of study aimed at assessing the variance of Earth’s biomass. Measurements of biodiversity 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 the environmental conditions, including anthropogenic influences and natural environmental influences.

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.

blue and yellow flowers
Variety of same species flowers

Genes, Species and Ecosystem Diversity

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 are most often interested in species richness (the number of different species in an area), and species abundance (the number of individuals per species in an area), to determine the biodiversity of a region. Researchers also use species distribution to assess ecological populations.

Species tend to occupy regions that fit the conditions necessary for their survival. In other words, the environment that a species can inhabit in determined by the conditions of the environment (both biotic and abiotic). The interconnected web species of interactions between species and environment make up the ecological environment matrix of the region. Ecosystems are the nutrient and energetic processes carried out by weather conditions, chemical process, microorganisms, interactions made by other species and changes to the environment. Ecosystems consist of ecological communities of organisms in various types of biomes. Examples of biomes include deserts, mountains, tundra, grasslands, tropical forests and temperate forests.

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