Transcript Slide 1

Biodiversity: Importance
and Measurement
by John Hammond
• Biodiversity is simply
the variety of life on
• Can be used to measure the health of a
system. Why is it a good measurement?
• Can be a reference to the variety in a
biome, an ecosystem, or the planet Earth
Biodiversity, cont.
• 3 types of Biodiversity:
Species, Genetic,
and Ecosystem Diversity
• Species Diversity – number
of species in an area and
their abundance
• Ecosystem Diversity – Variation in
the types of places that organisms live
• Genetic diversity – number of genetic characteristics in a
– Might be one of the most important measures of biodiversity.
Why is this?
Activity 1
• All species have an
important role to play
• A greater diversity of
species means all life
forms can survive longer
• Healthier, more diverse
ecosystems can better react to disasters
• How is this activity similar to an ecosystem?
• How would this change if there were more or
less people/organisms?
Benefits of Biodiversity
• A diverse ecosystem
provides many
benefits: recovery,
recycling of nutrients,
• Biological resources: food,
medicine, others?
• Social benefits?
Activity 2
An ecosystem that
is not diverse
represents a
Why didn’t the
disease spread as
fast in the second
simulation? Which is more
Monocultures require more pesticides and herbicides. Why? For which
What would happen if you replaced all of the trees in a diverse forest with
the same species? What would happen to the wildlife that were well suited
to their previous home?
How could you help wildlife in the landscape around your own home?
Measuring Diversity
• Types of measurement:
– Species Richness
– Evenness
– Taxonomic (hint, it has
to do with organisms’
relation to each other)
• Based on the idea that (1) all species are equal,
(2) all individuals within the species are equal,
(3) diversity measurements are comparable
• Why would we want to measure diversity in a
single ecosystem?
Activity 3
• We will consider species richness and
relative abundance for three sites
Broadleaf Maple
Activity 1 adapted from <> by
Stephanie L. Rau
Activity 2 adapted from <> by Kathy Paris
Activity 3 adapted from Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, “Reflections on Earth:
Biodiversity and Remote Sensing” <>
Picture Credits