Biodiversity

Biodiversity - Importance of Biodiversity

Biological diversity or Biodiversity is the differences and variety between the living organisms of all sources. It includes all terrestrial (land-dwelling), marine (aquatic) and other different ecosystems and ecological complexes.



Biological diversity largely describes the change of life from genes to ecosystems, comprising their existences, genetic variations, their environment, populations and the ecosystem in which they are existing and other evolutionary developments that keep the system functioning, changing and adapting.

Biodiversity is distributed into different components based on the level of differences.

Types of Biodiversity



Genetic diversity – It is the diversity expressed at the genetic level by every single in a species. No two individuals of the same species are accurately similar. For instance, humans show a lot of biodiversity between themselves. People living in different areas show a great level of differences.

Species diversity – It is the biodiversity seen within a community. It signifies the number and distribution of species. The number of species in an area varies broadly according to the environmental surroundings. For instance, it is usually observed that a human society living nearby the water bodies’display more species than the one compared to the areas far from water bodies.

Ecological diversity – It is the diversity seen between the ecosystems in a region. Several ecosystems like rainforests, deserts, mangroves, etc., show a vast diversity of life forms living in them.

Genetic diversity

It is the diversity expressed at the genetic level by every single in a species. It is distinguished from genetic inconsistency, which describes the tendency of genetic features to differ.

Genetic diversity works as a way for populations to adjust to changing environments. With more differences, it is more likely that certain individuals in a population will have variations of alleles that are right for the environment. Those individuals are more expected to survive to yield offspring bearing that allele. The population will continue for extra generations because of the success of these individuals.

The abstract field of population genetics contains some hypotheses and theories about genetic diversity. The neutral theory of evolution suggests that diversity is the outcome of the accumulation of neutral replacements. Varying selection is the hypothesis that two subpopulations of a species exist in different surroundings that select for different alleles at an exact locus. This might occur, for example, if a species has a wide range relative to the flexibility of individuals within it. Frequency-dependent selection is the hypothesis that as alleles become extra common, they become extra vulnerable. This occurs in interactions between host and pathogen, in a high rate of a defensive allele between the hosts means that it is more likely that a pathogen will spread if it is capable to overcome that allele.

Adaptation

The difference in the populations’ gene pool permits natural selection to act upon characters that allow the population to adjust to changing environments. Selection for or against a characteristic can happen with changing the environment – resulting in a rise in genetic diversity (if a new mutation is selected for and preserved) or a drop in genetic diversity (if a disadvantageous allele is selected against). Therefore, genetic diversity plays a vital role in the survival and adaptability of a species. The ability of the population to adjust to the changing environment will rest on the presence of the essential genetic diversity. The more genetic variety a population has the more possibility or the chance of the population will be able to adapt and survive. Equally, the vulnerability of a population to changes, like novel diseases or climate change will increase with fall in genetic diversity. For instance, the inability of koalas to adjust to fighting the koala retrovirus (KoRV) and Chlamydia has been connected to the koala’s low genetic diversity. This low genetic diversity also has geneticists worried for the koala's ability to adjust to climate change and human-induced environmental variations in the future.

Species diversity

It is the biodiversity seen within a community. It signifies the number and distribution of species. The effective number of species mentions to the number of similar copious species needed to obtain the same mean proportional species abundance as that is seen in the dataset of interest. Species diversity contains three components: species taxonomic, richness or phylogenetic variety and species consistency. Species richness is a common count of species, taxonomic or phylogenetic diversity is the genetic relationship among different groups of species, whereas species consistency quantifies how equal the abundances of the species are.

Calculation of diversity

The species diversity can be measured by first taking the weighted mean of species proportional plenty in the dataset, and then taking the opposite of this. The equation is:



The denominator equals average proportional species abundance in the dataset as measured with the weighted generalized mean with exponent q - 1. In the equation, S represents the total number of species (which is species richness) in the dataset, and the proportional abundance of the species is {\displaystyle p_{i}}pi. The proportional abundances themselves are considered as weights. The equation is often expressed in the equivalent form:



The value of q describes which kind of mean is used. q = 0 resembles the weighted harmonic mean, which is 1/S since the {\displaystyle p_{i}}Pivalues cancel out. q = 1 is undefined; excluding that the limit as q approaches 1 is well defined:



 q= 2 corresponds to the mathematics mean. As q reaches infinity, the generalized mean reaches the maximum Pi value. In practice, q modifies species weighting, such that increasing q raises the weight given to the most copious species, and less equally abundant species are therefore required to reach mean proportional abundance. As a result, large values of q will lead to minor species diversity than small values of q for a similar dataset. If all species are in the same way abundant in the dataset, altering the value of q has no effect, but species variety at any value of q is equaled to species richness.

The similar equation can be used to measure the diversity in relation to any taxonomy, not only species. If the persons are classified into functional types or general types, Pi is the proportional abundance of the genus or functional type, and qD is equals genus variety or functional type variety, respectively.

Ecological diversity:

It is the diversity seen between the ecosystems in a region. Keeping both kinds of diversity is fundamental to the working of ecosystems and therefore to human welfare. India is one of the 12 centers of diversity and origin of numerous cultivated plants in the world. It is expected that 15,000 species of plants arise in India. The flowering plants contain 15,000 species of which some hundred (5000-7500) species are common to India. The region is also rich in fauna, holding about 65,000 species of animals.

Among them, more than 4,000 of mollusks, 50,000 species of insects. 2,000 of fish, 140 of amphibians, 420 of reptiles, 6,500 of other invertebrates, 1,200 of birds and 340 of mammals are documented from India. This abundance in biological diversity is due to a huge variety of climatic and altitudinal conditions combined with diverse ecological habitats.

These differ from the cold desert of Ladakh and the icy mountains of Himalayas to the warm coasts of peninsular India including coastal region of Orissa, from the damp tropical Western Ghats to the hot desert of Rajasthan. Gandhamardan Hills of Sambalpur is rich in biodiversity. The Indian tradition teaches us that all type of life, human, animal, and plants are so closely related that disturbance in one gives rise to the imbalance to the other.

Importance of Biodiversity

All these diversities help in keeping the balance in nature. But, slowly there has been loss biodiversity. The loss of biodiversity can badly affect our environment as the balance is lost and the natural food chain is disturbed. So, as we realize its significance in our existence, biodiversity conservation has now become a matter of high significance.

We still have not branded all the species living on the earth but of all the ones known till now, several have now been marked as extinct. Recently, the rate of extinction has gone much high and this is causing direct influence on our earth like overuse of resources at some portions, the overpopulation of some species, etc. This has produced a huge imbalance in nature. Thus, the importance of biodiversity has to be understood and steps have to be taken to preserve all the three diversities.

Healthy biodiversity delivers a number of natural services for everyone:

  • • Ecosystem services, like

  • • Soils formation and protection

  • • Nutrient storage and recycling

  • • Pollution breakdown and absorption

  • • Protection of water resources

  • • Contribution to climate stability

  • • Maintenance of ecosystems

  • • Recovery from unpredictable events

  • • Biological resources

  • • Food

  • • Future resources

  • • Medicinal resources and pharmaceutical drugs

  • • Ornamental plants

  • • Wood products

  • • Diversity in genes, species, and ecosystems

  • • Breeding stocks, population reservoirs

  • • Social benefits,

  • • Research, education, and monitoring

  • • Recreation and tourism

  • • Cultural values

  • That is pretty a lot of services we get for free!
    The cost of replacing these (if possible) would be enormously expensive. It hence makes economic and development sense to move towards sustainability.