What is Biodiversity?

Grade Level: 

The quick answer is that biodiversity is short for biological diversity. But what does that mean? If you think about all the living things you see everyday, like your dog, or cat, or the trees and grass and other plants... these are all a part of Earth's biodiversity. It is also things you do not see that live in other places beyond your town or city. These might be things like roaring lions, swimming penguins, and lurking crocodiles. You also might not see spiny cactus plants, tall palm trees, or beautiful orchid flowers. And there are all the insects that you may or may not see. Even smaller than insects are the things living in the tiny world you do not see, like bacteria and other microscopic living life forms that add to biodiversity.

Looking at this more fully, biological diversity refers to the variety of life in all its forms and across the levels at which we talk about life. This includes genetic diversity, species diversity, and ecosystem diversity. Genetic diversity is all the different genes in all individual plants, animals, fungi, and microorganisms. Diversity of this kind occurs within a species as well as between species. Species diversity is all the differences within and between populations of a species, as well as between different species. At the ecosystem level, diversity is all the different habitats, communities, and ecological processes that exist. It also includes variation that is found within individual ecosystems. So biodiversity is really the amazing characteristics and differences that describe all of life on Earth.

Why do you think it is important to have biodiversity?

 Find more information on biodiversity, visit the Ecological Society of America.

 To learn more about ecosystems, try this link.

Have a different answer or more to add to this one? Send it to us.

View Citation

You may need to edit author's name to meet the style formats, which are in most cases "Last name, First name."

Bibliographic details:

  • Article: What is Biodiversity?
  • Author(s): Dr. Biology
  • Publisher: Arizona State University School of Life Sciences Ask A Biologist
  • Site name: ASU - Ask A Biologist
  • Date published: May 15, 2017
  • Date accessed: May 21, 2024
  • Link: https://askabiologist.asu.edu/questions/what-biodiversity

APA Style

Dr. Biology. (2017, May 15). What is Biodiversity?. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved May 21, 2024 from https://askabiologist.asu.edu/questions/what-biodiversity

American Psychological Association. For more info, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/

Chicago Manual of Style

Dr. Biology. "What is Biodiversity?". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 15 May, 2017. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/questions/what-biodiversity

MLA 2017 Style

Dr. Biology. "What is Biodiversity?". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 15 May 2017. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 21 May 2024. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/questions/what-biodiversity

Modern Language Association, 7th Ed. For more info, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/08/

Be Part of
Ask A Biologist

By volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteers page to get the process started.

Donate icon  Contribute


Share to Google Classroom