Components of Species Diversity

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Species Diversity Definition

If an alien from a foreign galaxy where to go to our planet Earth, the primary thing that might amaze and baffle him would most likely be the big diversity of life that he would encounter. The rich diversity of organisms sometimes even astonishes human beings. Biodiversity is inherent within the occurrence of varied sorts of environmental conditions in several parts of a neighborhood also as earth and therefore the presence of varied sorts of life adapted to those different environmental regimes. These further contribute to the components of species diversity. 

It is hard to believe that there are quite 21000 species of ants, 310000 species of beetles, 29000 species of fishes, and nearly 21000 species of orchids. Biodiversity isn't uniform. it's tremendous in some places, moderate in others, and low in certain regions. Ecologists and evolutionary biologists try to know the importance of such tremendous species diversity, species richness and relative abundance.


Biodiversity plays a major role in components of species diversity. This term was given by Edward Wilson. It describes the combined diversity in the least levels of the biological right from macromolecules to within the cells, genes, species, ecosystem, and biomes. it's taken many years of evolution to accumulate this diversity in nature, but we could lose all that wealth in two centuries if this rate of species losses continues. Biodiversity and its conservation are now vital environmental problems with international concern as more and more people around the world begin to understand the critical importance of biodiversity for our survival and well-being on this planet. It is responsible for enhancing the species diversity, species richness and relative abundance. There are three main components of species diversity, species richness and relative abundance. We will learn about them below. 

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Figure: Different species of Hawaiian fishes in a single ecosystem.

Genetic Diversity

It is the first and one of the very important components of species diversity, species richness and relative abundance. Sometimes a single species can show a high level of diversity at the genetic level. It means it's a measure of variation in genetic information within the organisms. Within a species, genetic diversity occurs within the differences of alleles, entire genes, and chromosomal structures. Genetic diversity enables a population to adapt to its environment and therefore the changes occurring within the environment. It leads to variation in potency and concentration of the active chemical which is reserpine being present in medicinal plant Rauwolfia vomitoria that grow in several Himalayan ranges. It helps within the formation of ecotype and plays a key role in the process of speciation. quite 50000 genetically different strains of rice and 1000 sorts of mango occur in India thanks to genetic variations.

Species Diversity

It refers to the variability of species within a neighborhood, for instance, Western ghats have greater amphibian species as compared to Eastern ghats. Species diversity may be a product of species richness and species evenness. So species diversity, species richness and relative abundance are all responsible for forming the species diversity. It's a variety of species present during a unit area. Species evenness and species equitability is that the proportionate number of people of various species and taxonomic groups. Others where one or more species have more individuals than others show dominance and unevenness. Maximum toxic diversity occurs where species of taxonomically different groups occur in almost equal abundance.

Ecological Diversity

It is one of the last components of species diversity, species richness and relative abundance.

It is also referred to as community diversity. it's a spread of ecosystems that indicate the range within the number of niches, trophic levels, food webs, nutrient cycles, and ecological processes sustaining energy flow. for instance, ecosystem diversity is high in India due to the occurrence of an outsized number of ecosystems like deserts, rain forests, mangroves, coral reefs, wetlands, estuaries, and alpine meadows. it's quite low in small countries like Scandinavian countries like Norway.

Species Diversity in India

India is split into 10 bio-geographical regions. India with only 2.4% of the world’s acreage possesses 8.1% species diversity of the planet thanks to varying physical conditions and species grouping. It's because India is one of the 12 mega diversity countries on the planet. There are nearly 46000 species of plants and almost double of this number of animal species. Still, quite 300000 animal species and 1000000 plant species are yet to be discovered. However, a really sizable amount of species that are yet to be discovered face the threat of becoming extinct even before we discover them.

Importance of Species Diversity to the Ecosystem

The number of species during a community really matters to the functioning of the ecosystem because rich biodiversity is vital for stability, productivity, resilience, alternative pathways, and health of ecosystems. The importance of species diversity and of the components of species diversity is listed below. 

  • Stability: Communities with more species are more stable than communities with fewer species. A stable community shouldn't show an excessive amount of variation in productivity from year to year. It must be resistant or resilient to sometimes natural also as man-made disturbances. It must be immune to invasion by alien species.

  • Ecosystem Health: It's often believed that tiny harm to the ecosystem will occur to the ecosystem if a couple of species become extinct. There shouldn't be much difference if one among the tree frog species is lost forever from the Western ghats ecosystem or the number of ant species is reduced from 20000 to 15000. Apparently, there won't appear any difference for a few times. However, rich biodiversity isn't only essential for ecosystem health but, also for the survival of humanity on earth. it's because an outsized number of species have a better number of niches, more interactions, and more inter-relationships.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Name the Three Main Components of Species Diversity.

Answer: The three main components of species diversity are Genetic diversity, Ecological diversity, and species diversity. 

2. Who Experimented on the Effect of Reduction of Biodiversity.

Answer: This experiment was performed by Pauk Ehrlich. He gave Rivet popper a hypothesis for this.