What is biodiversity?
- Variety of organisms present in an area
- Species: a group of organisms with a very similar appearance, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and genetics. Can interbreed to produce fertile offspring.
- Habitat: a place where an organism lives
- Community: all the living organisms in a habitat
Levels of Biodiversity
- Habitat: number of habitats in an area
- Species Richness: number of species in an area
- Species Evenness: number of each species
- Genetic Variety: variety of genes that make up a species (alleles)
Why measure biodiversity?
- Important for conservation
- Required before a major project such as housing development
|Number of species
|Ability to adapt to environment
|Type of food webs
|few links, each very important
|many links, each with reduced importance
|Effect of a change in environment