Species diversity is the number of different species that are represented in a given community (a dataset). The effective number of species refers to the number of equally abundant species needed to obtain the same mean proportional species abundance as that observed in the dataset of interest (where all species may not be equally abundant). Species diversity consists of three components: species richness, taxonomic or phylogenetic diversity and species evenness. Species richness is a simple count of species, taxonomic or phylogenetic diversity is the genetic relationship between different groups of species,whereas species evenness quantifies how equal the abundances of the species are.
The denominator equals mean proportional species abundance in the dataset as calculated with the weighted generalized mean with exponent q - 1. In the equation, S is the total number of species (species richness) in the dataset, and the proportional abundance of the ith species is . The proportional abundances themselves are used as weights. The equation is often written in the equivalent form:
The value of q defines which kind of mean is used. q = 0 corresponds to the weighted harmonic mean, which is 1/S because the values cancel out. q = 1 is undefined, except that the limit as q approaches 1 is well defined:
q = 2 corresponds to the arithmetic mean. As q approaches infinity, the generalized mean approaches the maximum value. In practice, q modifies species weighting, such that increasing q increases the weight given to the most abundant species, and fewer equally abundant species are hence needed to reach mean proportional abundance. Consequently, large values of q lead to smaller species diversity than small values of q for the same dataset. If all species are equally abundant in the dataset, changing the value of q has no effect, but species diversity at any value of q equals species richness.
Negative values of q are not used, because then the effective number of species (diversity) would exceed the actual number of species (richness). As q approaches negative infinity, the generalized mean approaches the minimum value. In many real datasets, the least abundant species is represented by a single individual, and then the effective number of species would equal the number of individuals in the dataset.
The same equation can be used to calculate the diversity in relation to any classification, not only species. If the individuals are classified into genera or functional types, represents the proportional abundance of the ith genus or functional type, and qD equals genus diversity or functional type diversity, respectively.
Often researchers have used the values given by one or more diversity indices to quantify species diversity. Such indices include species richness, the Shannon index, the Simpson index, and the complement of the Simpson index (also known as the Gini-Simpson index).
When interpreted in ecological terms, each one of these indices corresponds to a different thing, and their values are therefore not directly comparable. Species richness quantifies the actual rather than effective number of species. The Shannon index equals log(qD), and in practice quantifies the uncertainty in the species identity of an individual that is taken at random from the dataset. The Simpson index equals 1/qD and quantifies the probability that two individuals taken at random from the dataset (with replacement of the first individual before taking the second) represent the same species. The Gini-Simpson index equals 1 - 1/qD and quantifies the probability that the two randomly taken individuals represent different species.
Depending on the purposes of quantifying species diversity, the data set used for the calculations can be obtained in different ways. Although species diversity can be calculated for any data-set where individuals have been identified to species, meaningful ecological interpretations require that the dataset is appropriate for the questions at hand. In practice, the interest is usually in the species diversity of areas so large that not all individuals in them can be observed and identified to species, but a sample of the relevant individuals has to be obtained. Extrapolation from the sample to the underlying population of interest is not straightforward, because the species diversity of the available sample generally gives an underestimation of the species diversity in the entire population. Applying different sampling methods will lead to different sets of individuals being observed for the same area of interest, and the species diversity of each set may be different. When a new individual is added to a dataset, it may introduce a species that was not yet represented. How much this increases species diversity depends on the value of q: when q = 0, each new actual species causes species diversity to increase by one effective species, but when q is large, adding a rare species to a dataset has little effect on its species diversity.
In general, sets with many individuals can be expected to have higher species diversity than sets with fewer individuals. When species diversity values are compared among sets, sampling efforts need to be standardised in an appropriate way for the comparisons to yield ecologically meaningful results. Resampling methods can be used to bring samples of different sizes to a common footing. Species discovery curves and the number of species only represented by one or a few individuals can be used to help in estimating how representative the available sample is of the population from which it was drawn.
The observed species diversity is affected not only by the number of individuals but also by the heterogeneity of the sample. If individuals are drawn from different environmental conditions (or different habitats), the species diversity of the resulting set can be expected to be higher than if all individuals are drawn from a similar environment. Increasing the area sampled increases observed species diversity both because more individuals get included in the sample and because large areas are environmentally more heterogeneous than small areas.
In ecology, alpha diversity (α-diversity) is the mean species diversity in sites or habitats at a local scale. The term was introduced by R. H. Whittaker together with the terms beta diversity (β-diversity) and gamma diversity (γ-diversity). Whittaker's idea was that the total species diversity in a landscape (gamma diversity) is determined by two different things, the mean species diversity in sites or habitats at a more local scale (alpha diversity) and the differentiation among those habitats (beta diversity).Berberis
Berberis (), commonly known as barberry, is a large genus of deciduous and evergreen shrubs from 1–5 m (3.3–16.4 ft) tall, found throughout temperate and subtropical regions of the world (apart from Australia). Species diversity is greatest in South America and Asia; Europe, Africa and North America have native species as well. The best-known Berberis species is the European barberry, Berberis vulgaris, which is common in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and central Asia, and has been widely introduced in North America. Many of the species have spines on the shoots and along the margins of the leaves.Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the variety and variability of life on Earth. Biodiversity is typically a measure of variation at the genetic, species, and ecosystem level. Terrestrial biodiversity is usually greater near the equator, which is the result of the warm climate and high primary productivity. Biodiversity is not distributed evenly on Earth, and is richest in the tropics. These tropical forest ecosystems cover less than 10 percent of earth's surface, and contain about 90 percent of the world's species. Marine biodiversity is usually highest along coasts in the Western Pacific, where sea surface temperature is highest, and in the mid-latitudinal band in all oceans. There are latitudinal gradients in species diversity. Biodiversity generally tends to cluster in hotspots, and has been increasing through time, but will be likely to slow in the future.Rapid environmental changes typically cause mass extinctions. More than 99.9 percent of all species that ever lived on Earth, amounting to over five billion species, are estimated to be extinct. Estimates on the number of Earth's current species range from 10 million to 14 million, of which about 1.2 million have been documented and over 86 percent have not yet been described. More recently, in May 2016, scientists reported that 1 trillion species are estimated to be on Earth currently with only one-thousandth of one percent described. The total amount of related DNA base pairs on Earth is estimated at 5.0 x 1037 and weighs 50 billion tonnes. In comparison, the total mass of the biosphere has been estimated to be as much as 4 TtC (trillion tons of carbon). In July 2016, scientists reported identifying a set of 355 genes from the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA) of all organisms living on Earth.The age of the Earth is about 4.54 billion years. The earliest undisputed evidence of life on Earth dates at least from 3.5 billion years ago, during the Eoarchean Era after a geological crust started to solidify following the earlier molten Hadean Eon. There are microbial mat fossils found in 3.48 billion-year-old sandstone discovered in Western Australia. Other early physical evidence of a biogenic substance is graphite in 3.7 billion-year-old meta-sedimentary rocks discovered in Western Greenland. More recently, in 2015, "remains of biotic life" were found in 4.1 billion-year-old rocks in Western Australia. According to one of the researchers, "If life arose relatively quickly on Earth .. then it could be common in the universe."Since life began on Earth, five major mass extinctions and several minor events have led to large and sudden drops in biodiversity. The Phanerozoic eon (the last 540 million years) marked a rapid growth in biodiversity via the Cambrian explosion—a period during which the majority of multicellular phyla first appeared. The next 400 million years included repeated, massive biodiversity losses classified as mass extinction events. In the Carboniferous, rainforest collapse led to a great loss of plant and animal life. The Permian–Triassic extinction event, 251 million years ago, was the worst; vertebrate recovery took 30 million years. The most recent, the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, occurred 65 million years ago and has often attracted more attention than others because it resulted in the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs.The period since the emergence of humans has displayed an ongoing biodiversity reduction and an accompanying loss of genetic diversity. Named the Holocene extinction, the reduction is caused primarily by human impacts, particularly habitat destruction. Conversely, biodiversity positively impacts human health in a number of ways, although a few negative effects are studied.The United Nations designated 2011–2020 as the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity. and 2021-2030 as the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration According to a 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services by IPBES, 25% of plant and animal species are threatened with extinction as the result of human activity.Ecological effects of biodiversity
The diversity of species and genes in ecological communities affects the functioning of these communities. These ecological effects of biodiversity in turn are affected by both climate change through enhanced greenhouse gases, aerosols and loss of land cover, and biological diversity, causing a rapid loss of biodiversity and extinctions of species and local populations. The current rate of extinction is sometimes considered a mass extinction, with current species extinction rates on the order of 100 to 1000 times as high as in the past.The two main areas where the effect of biodiversity on ecosystem function have been studied are the relationship between diversity and productivity, and the relationship between diversity and community stability. More biologically diverse communities appear to be more productive (in terms of biomass production) than are less diverse communities, and they appear to be more stable in the face of perturbations.
Also animals that inhabit an area may alter the surviving conditions by factors assimilated by climate.Ecological extinction
Ecological extinction is "the reduction of a species to such low abundance that, although it is still present in the community, it no longer interacts significantly with other species".Ecological extinction stands out because it is the interaction ecology of a species that is important for conservation work. They state that "unless the species interacts significantly with other species in the community (e.g. it is an important predator, competitor, symbiont, mutualist, or prey) its loss may result in little to no adjustment to the abundance and population structure of other species".This view stems from the neutral model of communities that assumes there is little to no interaction within species unless otherwise proven.
Estes, Duggins, and Rathburn (1989) recognize two other distinct types of extinction:
Global extinction is defined as "the ubiquitous disappearance of a species".
Local extinction is characterized by "the disappearance of a species from part of its natural range".Evolutionary ecology
Evolutionary ecology lies at the intersection of ecology and evolutionary biology. It approaches the study of ecology in a way that explicitly considers the evolutionary histories of species and the interactions between them. Conversely, it can be seen as an approach to the study of evolution that incorporates an understanding of the interactions between the species under consideration. The main subfields of evolutionary ecology are life history evolution, sociobiology (the evolution of social behavior), the evolution of inter specific relations (cooperation, predator–prey interactions, parasitism, mutualism) and the evolution of biodiversity and of communities.
Evolutionary ecology mostly considers two things: how interactions (both among species and between species and their physical environment) shape species through selection and adaptation, and the consequences of the resulting evolutionary change.Foundation species
In ecology, the term foundation species is used to refer to a species that has a strong role in structuring a community. A foundation species can occupy any trophic level in a food web (i.e., they can be primary producers, herbivores or predators). The term was coined by Paul K. Dayton in 1972, who applied it to certain members of marine invertebrate and algae communities. It was clear from studies in several locations that there were a small handful of species whose activities had a disproportionate effect on the rest of the marine community and they were therefore key to the resilience of the community. Dayton’s view was that focusing on foundation species would allow for a simplified approach to more rapidly understand how a community as a whole would react to disturbances, such as pollution, instead of attempting the extremely difficult task of tracking the responses of all community members simultaneously. The term has since been applied to range of organisms in ecosystems around the world, in both aquatic and terrestrial environments. Aaron Ellison et al. introduced the term to terrestrial ecology by applying the term foundation species to tree species that define and structure certain forest ecosystems through their influences on associated organisms and modulation of ecosystem processes.Gelechioidea
Gelechioidea (from the type genus Gelechia, "keeping to the ground") is the superfamily of moths that contains the case-bearers, twirler moths, and relatives, also simply called curved-horn moths or gelechioid moths. It is a large and poorly understood '"micromoth" superfamily, constituting one of the basal lineages of the Ditrysia.As of the 1990s, this superfamily was composed of about 1,425 genera and 16,250 species. It was estimated that only 25% of the species diversity of Gelechioidea had been described. If this estimate is accurate, Gelechioidea will be one of the largest superfamilies of Lepidoptera.The name "curved-horn moths" refers to one of the few conspicuous features found in (almost) all Gelechioidea, and, at least in the more extreme developments, unique to them: the labial palps are well-developed (though not thickened), and form more or less gently curved protrusions whose end has a drawn-out, pointed tip. Their proboscis is generally well-developed, allowing for long-lived imagines (adults); the proximal part of the proboscis is scaly. Otherwise, the Gelechioidea vary extensively in habitus; most have small hindwings with long, hairy fringes, though these are not easily seen in the living animal as they are tucked under the forewings at rest. The body is usually quite compressed, either dorsoventrally or laterally.Genetic diversity
Genetic diversity is the total number of genetic characteristics in the genetic makeup of a species. It is distinguished from genetic variability, which describes the tendency of genetic characteristics to vary.
Genetic diversity serves as a way for populations to adapt to changing environments. With more variation, it is more likely that some individuals in a population will possess variations of alleles that are suited for the environment. Those individuals are more likely to survive to produce offspring bearing that allele. The population will continue for more generations because of the success of these individuals.The academic field of population genetics includes several hypotheses and theories regarding genetic diversity. The neutral theory of evolution proposes that diversity is the result of the accumulation of neutral substitutions. Diversifying selection is the hypothesis that two subpopulations of a species live in different environments that select for different alleles at a particular locus. This may occur, for instance, if a species has a large range relative to the mobility of individuals within it. Frequency-dependent selection is the hypothesis that as alleles become more common, they become more vulnerable. This occurs in host–pathogen interactions, where a high frequency of a defensive allele among the host means that it is more likely that a pathogen will spread if it is able to overcome that allele.Hygrobia
Hygrobia is a genus of aquatic beetles native to Europe, North Africa, China and Australia. It is the only genus in the family Hygrobiidae, also known as the Paelobiidae. These are known commonly as squeak beetles or screech-beetles.There are six known living species, with a highly disjunct distribution, and one extinct species, Hygrobia cretzschmari.Intermediate disturbance hypothesis
The intermediate disturbance hypothesis (IDH) suggests that local species diversity is maximized when ecological disturbance is neither too rare nor too frequent. At high levels of disturbance, due to frequent forest fires or human impacts like deforestation, all species are at risk of going extinct. According to IDH theory, at intermediate levels of disturbance, diversity is thus maximized because species that thrive at both early and late successional stages can coexist. IDH is a nonequilibrium model used to describe the relationship between disturbance and species diversity. IDH is based on the following premises: First, ecological disturbances have major effects on species richness within the area of disturbance. Second, interspecific competition results from one species driving a competitor to extinction and becoming dominant in the ecosystem. Third, moderate ecological scale disturbances prevent interspecific competition.
Disturbances act to disrupt stable ecosystems and clear species' habitat. As a result, disturbances lead to species movement into the newly cleared area. Once an area is cleared there is a progressive increase in species richness and competition takes place again. Once disturbance is removed, species richness decreases as competitive exclusion increases. "Gause's Law", also known as competitive exclusion, explains how species that compete for the same resources cannot coexist in the same niche. Each species handles change from a disturbance differently; therefore, IDH can be described as both "broad in description and rich in detail". The broad IDH model can be broken down into smaller divisions which include spatial within-patch scales, spatial between-patch scales, and purely temporal models. Each subdivision within this theory generates similar explanations for the coexistence of species with habitat disturbance. Joseph H. Connell proposed that relatively low disturbance leads to decreased diversity and high disturbance causes an increase in species movement. These proposed relationships lead to the hypothesis that intermediate disturbance levels would be the optimal amount of disorder within an ecosystem. Once K-selected and r-selected species can live in the same region, species richness can reach its maximum. The main difference between both types of species is their growth and reproduction rate. These characteristics attribute to the species that thrive in habitats with higher and lower amounts of disturbance. K-selected species generally demonstrate more competitive traits. Their primary investment of resources is directed towards growth, causing them to dominate stable ecosystems over a long period of time; an example of K-selected species the African elephant, which is prone to extinction because of their long generation times and low reproductive rates. In contrast, r-selected species colonize open areas quickly and can dominate landscapes that have been recently cleared by disturbance. An ideal examples of r-selected groups are algae. Based on the contradictory characteristics of both of these examples, areas of occasional disturbance allow both r and K species to benefit by residing in the same area. The ecological effect on species relationships is therefore supported by the intermediate disturbance hypothesis.Keystone species
A keystone species is a species that has a disproportionately large effect on its natural environment relative to its abundance. Such species are described as playing a critical role in maintaining the structure of an ecological community, affecting many other organisms in an ecosystem and helping to determine the types and numbers of various other species in the community. A keystone species is a plant or animal that plays a unique and crucial role in the way an ecosystem functions. Without keystone species, the ecosystem would be dramatically different or cease to exist altogether. Some keystone species, such as the wolf, are also apex predators.
The role that a keystone species plays in its ecosystem is analogous to the role of a keystone in an arch. While the keystone is under the least pressure of any of the stones in an arch, the arch still collapses without it. Similarly, an ecosystem may experience a dramatic shift if a keystone species is removed, even though that species was a small part of the ecosystem by measures of biomass or productivity.
It became a popular concept in conservation biology, alongside flagship and umbrella species. Although the concept is valued as a descriptor for particularly strong inter-species interactions, and it has allowed easier communication between ecologists and conservation policy-makers, it has been criticized for oversimplifying complex ecological systems.Latitudinal gradients in species diversity
Species richness, or biodiversity, increases from the poles to the tropics for a wide variety of terrestrial and marine organisms, often referred to as the latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG). The LDG is one of the most widely recognized patterns in ecology. The LDG has been observed to varying degrees in Earth's past. A parallel trend has been found with elevation (elevational diversity gradient), though this is less well-studiedExplaining the latitudinal diversity gradient has been called one of the great contemporary challenges of biogeography and macroecology (Willig et al. 2003, Pimm and Brown 2004, Cardillo et al. 2005). The question "What determines patterns of species diversity?" was among the 25 key research themes for the future identified in 125th Anniversary issue of Science (July 2005). There is a lack of consensus among ecologists about the mechanisms underlying the pattern, and many hypotheses have been proposed and debated. A recent review noted that among the many conundrums associated with the LDG (or LBG, Latitudinal Biodiversity Gradient) the causal relationship between rates of molecular evolution and speciation has yet to be demonstrated.
Understanding the global distribution of biodiversity is one of the most significant objectives for ecologists and biogeographers. Beyond purely scientific goals and satisfying curiosity, this understanding is essential for applied issues of major concern to humankind, such as the spread of invasive species, the control of diseases and their vectors, and the likely effects of global climate change on the maintenance of biodiversity (Gaston 2000). Tropical areas play prominent roles in the understanding of the distribution of biodiversity, as their rates of habitat degradation and biodiversity loss are exceptionally high.Macroecology
Macroecology is the subfield of ecology that deals with the study of relationships between organisms and their environment at large spatial scales to characterise and explain statistical patterns of abundance, distribution and diversity. The term was coined by James Brown of the University of New Mexico and Brian Maurer of Michigan State University in a 1989 paper in Science.Macroecology approaches the idea of studying ecosystems using a "top down" approach. It seeks understanding through the study of the properties of the system as a whole; Kevin Gaston and Tim Blackburn make the analogy to seeing the forest for the trees.Macroecology examines how global development in climate change affect wildlife populations. Classic ecological questions amenable to study through the techniques of macroecology include questions of species richness, latitudinal gradients in species diversity, the species-area curve, range size, body size, and species abundance. For example, the relationship between abundance and range size (why species that maintain large local population sizes tend to be widely distributed, while species that are less abundant tend to have restricted ranges) has received much attention.Myco-heterotrophy
Myco-heterotrophy (from Greek μύκης mykes, "fungus", ἕτερος heteros, "another", "different" and τροφή trophe, "nutrition") is a symbiotic relationship between certain kinds of plants and fungi, in which the plant gets all or part of its food from parasitism upon fungi rather than from photosynthesis. A myco-heterotroph is the parasitic plant partner in this relationship. Myco-heterotrophy is considered a kind of cheating relationship and myco-heterotrophs are sometimes informally referred to as "mycorrhizal cheaters". This relationship is sometimes referred to as mycotrophy, though this term is also used for plants that engage in mutualistic mycorrhizal relationships.Rapoport's rule
Rapoport's rule is an ecogeographical rule that states that latitudinal ranges of plants and animals are generally smaller at lower latitudes than at higher latitudes.Species richness
Species richness is the number of different species represented in an ecological community, landscape or region. Species richness is simply a count of species, and it does not take into account the abundances of the species or their relative abundance distributions. Species diversity takes into account both species richness and species evenness.Symbiodinium
This is about the genus sometimes called Zoox. For the company, see Zoox (company)
Symbiodinium is a genus that encompasses the largest and most prevalent group of endosymbiotic dinoflagellates known. These unicellular algae commonly reside in the endoderm of tropical cnidarians such as corals, sea anemones, and jellyfish, where the products of their photosynthetic processing are exchanged in the host for inorganic molecules. They are also harbored by various species of sponge, flatworms, mollusks such as the giant clams, foraminifera (soritids), and some ciliates. Generally, these dinoflagellates enter the host cell through phagocytosis, persist as intracellular symbionts, reproduce, and disperse to the environment. The exception is in most mollusks, where Symbiodinium are intercellular (between the cells). Cnidarians that are associated with Symbiodinium occur mostly in warm oligotrophic (nutrient-poor), marine environments where they are often the dominant constituents of benthic communities. These dinoflagellates are therefore among the most abundant eukaryotic microbes found in coral reef ecosystems.
Symbiodinium are colloquially called "zooxanthellae", and animals symbiotic with algae in this genus are said to be "zooxanthellate". The term was loosely used to refer to any golden-brown endosymbionts, including diatoms and other dinoflagellates. Continued use of the term in the scientific literature is discouraged because of the confusion caused by overly generalizing taxonomically diverse symbiotic relationships.Recently, systematics of Symbiodiniaceae was revised, in which the distinct clades have been reassigned into seven genera. Following this revision, the name Symbiodinium is now a genus name for only species that were previously classified as Clade A
. The other clades were reclassified as distinct genera (see Molecular Systematics below).Thorson's rule
Thorson's rule (named after Gunnar Thorson by S. A. Mileikovsky in 1971)
is an ecogeographical rule which states that benthic marine invertebrates at low latitudes tend to produce large numbers of eggs developing to pelagic (often planktotrophic [plankton-feeding]) and widely dispersing larvae, whereas at high latitudes such organisms tend to produce fewer and larger lecithotrophic (yolk-feeding) eggs and larger offspring, often by viviparity or ovoviviparity, which are often brooded.