Species Diversity

Did you know that more than 1.8 million species exist on earth? Species Diversity is one of the interesting and important components in the complete of natural sciences. 

Having a detailed account of the Species Diversity is one of the key goals in the study of plants, animals, and other living creatures. Hence, we are about to learn the necessary concepts under Species Diversity as well as understand how important is to learn Species Diversity with real-time applications. 

Make sure to check the Species Diversity questions and answers section at the end of this lesson plan. 


Defining What Species Diversity is all About

In simple terms, Species Diversity is nothing but the total count of various species that are represented within a given dataset called the ‘community’. 3 other terminologies are closely related to Species Diversity as given below: 

  • Species Evenness - The term evenness is used to denote any similarity present in the population size of a particular species chosen. 

  • Species Richness - ‘Species Richness’ is preferred in for representing the number of species (abundance) that are specific to a particular geography or location.

  • Taxonomic or Phylogenetic Diversity - Phylogenetics or Taxonomic diversity tells the reader about the genetic relationship between a diverse collection of species. 

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The Significance of Species Diversity

The importance of species diversity cannot be simply put in words considering the Free services it offers to humans, birds, plants and other land and aquatic animals. Considering a healthy ecosystem, every specie is said to be directly or indirectly inter-related to every other specie. For example, the Nitrogen Cycle denotes the relationship between bacteria, soil, and plants. Identifying this relationship leads to better applications of all species.

Each living creature is helpful to nature and humans for various purposes from multiple earth sources. Some of the prominent benefits include the supply of clean water and fresh air, climate and seasonal stability, fertility in soil production, pollution absorption capacity, medicinal/health resources, and even in the prevention of certain medical conditions. 

Adding to this, it is also generally estimated that the higher the count of plant species, the more variations observable from crops. Species Diversity, overall, provides a natural form of sustainability to all living beings on earth. Moreover, from breeding stocks and pharmaceutical drugs to wood products and ornamental entities, all the mentioned applications and more that humans make use of in their day-to-day lifestyle, come from natural elements, which are all possible only because of the diversity in species.

  

There are many Threats to Species Diversity

When natural services of plants and animals come as free, human beings tend to overexploit things. So many aquatic animals, bird and even plant varieties are completely extinct and loss from the natural gene pool. For instance, Rhynia and Calamites are 2 highly beneficial plants, that are found no weather on earth today. Edwards' Dodo and Male Passenger Pigeon are quick examples of birds that are extinct from the diversity. 

So, how is a human being a threat to the natural ecosystem?

  • Fragmentation and loss of habitat is the primary threat to the environment from man-made activities such as pollution, urbanization, industrialization and more.

  • Deforestation (cutting down of trees) is a never-ending threat to plant species diversity. When trees are cut-down for the sake of wood, paper, or fodder, not only is the species diversity getting reduced, but it eventually leads to higher levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. 

  • Overharvesting and overexploitation is the backbone to losing many living creatures from the earth. The example of Male Passenger Pigeon mentioned before was overexploited and now it has gone extinct. This applies even to numerous marine animals. 


Measures to Conserve the Species Diversity

It is the responsibility of each human being to conserve the natural environment because not only is the total count of species diversity getting reduced, but also, promotes extinction, which means the extinction of species that are related to the pre-extinct one. Practising Cryopreservation techniques and ex-situ conversation, along with afforestation and opening commercial seedbanks and hotspots are some of the good practises to increase the species diversity and also conserve the existing creatures on earth.


MCQs

  1. What led to the maximum damage for the Indian forests from the following?

  1. Taungya system of cultivation

  2.  Jhum cultivation

  3. Block cutting 

  4. Selective harvesting 

ANSWER: B (Jhum cultivation)


2. The world’s lightest and finest quality wool is the product from which of the following sources of endangered animals?

  1. Cheetal

  2. Kashmiri Goat

  3. Chiru

  4. Nilgai 

ANSWER: C (Chiru)


3. Out of the following bird sanctuaries, where does the Siberian crane regularly visit?

  1. Ranaganathittu in Karnataka

  2. Vedanthangal  of Tamil Nadu

  3. Bharatpur of Rajasthan 

  4. Lalbagh in Karnataka 

ANSWER: C (Bharatpur of Rajasthan)


4. Indri-indri lemur is observed in which of the following countries?

  1. Mauritius 

  2. Mauritania 

  3. India

  4. Madagascar 

ANSWER: D (Madagascar)


5. Out of the following options, which 1 is an endangered India medicinal plant?

  1. Podophyllum

  2. Ocimum

  3. Nependenthes

  4. All of the above 

ANSWER: A (Podophyllum)