Skip to main content
Biology LibreTexts

Chapter 22: Biodiversity

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    ( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\)

    \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\)

    \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorA}[1]{\vec{#1}}      % arrow\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorAt}[1]{\vec{\text{#1}}}      % arrow\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorB}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorC}[1]{\textbf{#1}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorD}[1]{\overrightarrow{#1}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorDt}[1]{\overrightarrow{\text{#1}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectE}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash{\mathbf {#1}}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)

    Learning Objectives
    • Differentiate among the types of biodiversity

    • Learn how to measure diversity using indices

    • Understand why biodiversity is not evenly distributed

    • Learn how Rarefaction curves are used to estimate species richness

    • 22.1: Introduction to Biodiversity
      Biodiversity is a broad term for biological variety, and it can be measured at a number of organizational levels. Traditionally, ecologists have measured biodiversity by taking into account both the number of species and the number of individuals of each species. However, biologists are using different measures of biodiversity, including genetic diversity, to help focus efforts to preserve the biologically and technologically important elements of biodiversity.
    • 22.2: Importance of Biodiversity
      Agriculture began after early hunter-gatherer societies first settled in one place and heavily modified their immediate environment. This cultural transition has made it difficult for humans to recognize their dependence on undomesticated living things on the planet. Biologists recognize the human species is embedded in ecosystems and is dependent on them, just as every other species on the planet is dependent.
    • 22.3: The Biodiversity Crisis - HIPPPOC
      Habitat loss, invasive species, pollution, predator loss, population (human), overharvesting, and climate change (HIPPPOC) are the major causes of biodiversity loss in the Anthropocene.
    • 22.4: Preserving Biodiversity
      Preserving biodiversity is an extraordinary challenge that must be met by greater understanding of biodiversity itself, changes in human behavior and beliefs, and various preservation strategies.
    • 22.5: Measuring Biodiveristy
    • 22.6: Patterns in Biodiversity


    Genetic diversity, ecosystem diversity, and human-derived diversity are measures of biodiversity that currently define life on earth. Because it is often difficult to obtain a full list of species in any given location, various metrics are used to measure biodiversity, including Alpha, Beta, and Gamma diversity, and rarefaction curves. While around 2 million species have been scientifically described globally, estimates of the actual number of species on earth range from 10s of millions to billions.

    Chapter 22: Biodiversity is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

    • Was this article helpful?