- Biodiversity can be identified in a variety of forms, including species diversity, habitat diversity and genetic diversity.
- The ability to both understand and quantify biodiversity is important to conservation efforts.
Knowledge and understanding:
- Biodiversity is a broad concept encompassing the total diversity of living systems, which includes the diversity of species, habitat diversity and genetic diversity.
- Species diversity in communities is a product of two variables: the number of species (richness) and their relative proportions (evenness).
- Communities can be described and compared through the use of diversity indices. When comparing communities that are similar, low diversity could be indicative of pollution, eutrophication or recent colonization of a site. The number of species present in an area is often indicative of general patterns of biodiversity.
- Habitat diversity refers to the range of different habitats in an ecosystem or biome.
- Genetic diversity refers to the range of genetic material present in a population of a species.
- Quantification of biodiversity is important to conservation efforts so that areas of high biodiversity may be identified, explored, and appropriate conservation put in place where possible.
- The ability to assess changes to biodiversity in a given community over time is important in assessing the impact of human activity in the community.
Applications and skills:
- Distinguish between biodiversity, diversity of species, habitat diversity and genetic diversity.
- Comment on the relative values of biodiversity data.
- Discuss the usefulness of providing numerical values of species diversity to understanding the nature of biological communities and the conservation of biodiversity.
- International scientific collaboration is important in the conservation of biodiverse regions.
Theory of knowledge:
- The term “biodiversity” has replaced the term “nature” in much literature on conservation issues—does this represent a paradigm shift?
- Diversity index is not a measure in the true sense of a word, but merely a number (index), as it involves a subjective judgment on the combination of two measures: proportion and richness. Are there examples in other areas of knowledge of the subjective use of numbers?
- Foundations of ESS (topic 1)
- Investigating ecosystems (2.5)
- Water pollution (4.4)
- Acid deposition (6.4)
- Climate change — causes and impacts (7.2)