Definition and Categories of Biodiversity

In this article, you will today learn about the definition, meaning and categorizes of bio diversity which is one of the popular concept in biological studies: 

1. Biodiversity Definition

Biodiversity itself is a combination of two words, Bio (life) and Diversity (variety). In simple terms, biodiversity is the number and variety of organisms found within a specified geographic region. It refers to the varieties of plants, animals and microorganisms, the genes they contain and the ecosystems are formed.

2. Biodiversity Categories

In general there are four categories of biodiversity and they are genetic, species, ecosystem and functional. All of these are explained as follows:

  1. Genetic diversity: It refers to diversity within a species at genetic level. It means variation of gene level. The number of genes in an organisms in variable. Groups of individual organisms having certain similarities in their physical characteristics are called species. Human being genetically belong to the Homo sapiens group and also differ in their characteristics such as height, colour, physical appearance etc. This is due to genetic diversity.
  2.  Species diversity: The diversity at the species level is called species diversity. For example, the Western Ghats have greater amphibian species (a kind of organisms lives in both aquatic and terrestrial environment) diversity than the Eastern Ghats. This means that species diversity is a measure of the diversity within a ecological community that incorporate both species richness and evenness of species.
  3.  Ecosystem diversity: Diversity at the ecosystem level is called ecosystem diversity. At the ecosystem level India, for instance, with its deserts, rain forests, mangroves, coral reefs, wetlands, estuaries and alpine meadows has greater ecosystem diversity than a Scandinavian country like Finland. Thus ecosystem diversity is the variety of biological communities, such as forests, deserts, grasslands and streams that interact with one another and with their physical and chemical environment.
  4. Functional diversity: Functional diversity refers to the diversity of ecological processes that maintain and are dependent upon other components of diversity. Functional diversity includes the many ecological interactions among species e.g. competition, predation, parasitism, mutualism etc. as well as ecological processes such as nutrient retention and recycling.

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