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5: What is Biodiversity? A comparison of spider communities

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    Chapter Outline

    • 5.1: Objectives
      To explore through classification of life forms the concept of biological diversity as it occurs at various taxonomic levels.
    • 5.2: Procedures
      Spiders are a highly species rich group of invertebrates that exploit a wide variety of niches in virtually all the earth's biomes. Some species of spiders build elaborate webs that passively trap their prey whereas others are active predators that ambush or pursue their prey. Given spiders' taxonomic diversity as well as the variety of ecological niches breadth along with the ease of catching them, spiders can represent useful, fairly easily measured indicators of environmental change and commu
    • 5.3: Level 1: Sorting and Classifying a Spider Collection and Assessing its Comprehensiveness
      Obtain a paper copy of the spider collection for forest patch "1." The spiders were captured by a biologist traveling along transects through the patch and striking a random series of 100 tree branches. All spiders dislodged that fell onto an outstretched sheet were collected and preserved in alcohol. They have since been spread out on a tray for you to examine.
    • 5.4: Level 2: Contrasting spider diversity among sites to provide a basis for prioritizing conservation efforts
      In this part of the exercise you are provided with spider collections from 4 other forest patches. The forest patches have resulted from fragmentation of a once much larger, continuous forest. You will use the spider diversity information to prioritize efforts for the five different forest patches (including the data from the first patch which you have already classified).
    • 5.5: Level 3: Considering evolutionary distinctiveness
      When contrasting patterns of species diversity and community distinctiveness, we typically treat each species as equally important, yet are they? What if a species-poor area actually is quite evolutionarily distinct from others? Similarly, what if your most species-rich site is comprised of a swarm of species that have only recently diverged from one another and are quite similar to species present at another site? These questions allude to issues of biological diversity at higher taxonomic leve

    5: What is Biodiversity? A comparison of spider communities is shared under a CC BY 3.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Nora Bynum via source content that was edited to conform to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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