What is Biodiversity?

What is Biodiversity?

 

Quite literally, it means the variety of life, ranging from all the different species on Earth, to just those within a smaller ecosystem. However, biodiversity goes beyond being just the different species within a particular environment. This can be seen by looking at the two major types of biodiversity, genetic and ecological…

 

Genetic biodiversity is the variation of the genes that exist within a certain species. For instance, all dogs are part of the same species, but their genes vary based on what breed of dog they are. Ecological biodiversity is that of ecosystems, natural communities, and habitats. It is composed of the different ways that all of the present species interact with each other and their surrounding environment. An example of this would be differences between two forests in different places; both are forests but they differ in their compositional makeup.

 

Why is Biodiversity Important?

 

Biodiversity is a crucial factor in maintaining the health of humans and the health of the environment. Not only does it provide a variety of foods and materials for us, but it also absorbs chemicals and cleans water, providing us with oxygen and fresh water, respectively. One of the most important things it does, though, is to allow for ecosystems to adjust and adapt to natural disasters. The existence of genetic diversity also prevents diseases from wiping out entire species, promoting the continued existence of life everywhere.

 

All of this information and more can be found at the National Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Guide.

 

Written by: Teddi Shapiro, Class of 2019

Photo thanks to Pixabay

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