Genetic diversity

Genetic diversity, the level of biodiversity, refers to the total number of geneticcharacteristics 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 [1] 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-pathogeninteractions, 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.

Species diversity
Species diversity is the effective number of different species that are represented in a collection of individuals (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 two components, species richness and species evenness. Species richness is a simple count of species, [1][2][3] whereas species evenness quantifies how equal the abundances of the species are.

Diversity indices[edit]
Often researchers have used the values given by one or more diversity indices to quantify species diversity. Such indices includespecies richness, the Shannon index, the Simpson index and the [4][5][6] 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 q number of species. The Shannon index equals log( D), 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 q 1/ D 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-

Unsustainable consumption in many northern countries and crushing poverty in the tropics are destroying wild nature. times the natural rate. which refers to variation in species rather than ecosystems.1/ D and quantifies the probability that the two randomly taken individuals [1][2][3][6][7] represent different species. THE BIODIVERSITY HOTSPOTS Life on Earth faces a crisis of historical and planetary proportions. In a world where conservation budgets are insufficient given the number of species threatened with extinction. Ecosystem diversity can also refer to the variety of ecosystems present in a biosphere. the variety of species and ecological processes that occur in different physical settings. Mass extinctions of this magnitude have only occurred five times in the history of our planet. the last brought the end of the dinosaur age. human impacts have elevated the rate of extinction by at least a thousand. While extinction is a natural process.Simpson index equals 1 . Biodiversity is besieged. identifying conservation priorities is crucial. q Ecosystem diversity Ecosystem diversity refers to the diversity of a place at the level ofecosystems. Extinction is the gravest aspect of the biodiversity crisis: it is irreversible. British ecologist Norman Myers defined the biodiversity hotspot concept in 1988 to address the dilemma that conservationists face: what areas are the most immediately important for conserving biodiversity? . The term differs from biodiversity. possibly several thousand.

. when many taxa representing a wide array of lifeforms have gone extinct in the same blink of geological time. due to human actions. we have transformed. and 3-4 families per my. [see last Fall's lecture on the Emergence Of Complex Life] In the modern era.The biodiversity hotspots hold especially high numbers of endemic species.3 percent of the Earth's land surface. It is little wonder that species are disappearing and ecosystems are being destroyed. There have also been occasional episodes of mass extinction. The average duration of a species is 2-10 million years (based on last 200 million years). First. routine. and we harvest virtually all of the available productivity of the oceans (GCII). in so short a time. yet their combined area of remaining habitat covers only 2. We now know that most species that have ever lived have gone extinct. from a geological perspective. What are the Threats to Biodiversity? Extinction is a natural event and. Over 50 percent of the world’s plant species and 42 percent of all terrestrial vertebrate species are endemic to the 34 biodiversity hotspots. We appropriate roughly half of the world's net primary productivity for human use (GCII). species and ecosystems are threatened with destruction to an extent rarely seen in earth history. We appropriate most available fresh water (GCII). degraded or destroyed roughly half of the word's forests (GCII). The average rate over the past 200 my is 1-2 species per year. Probably only during the handful of mass extinction events have so many species been threatened. Each hotspot faces extreme threats and has already lost at least 70 percent of its original natural vegetation. we can attribute the loss of species and ecosystems to the accelerating transformation of the earth by a growing human population (GCII). As the human population passes the six billion mark . What are these human actions? There are many ways to conceive of these .let's consider two.

or biological diversity. It is the different plants. the city relied on a relocation plan developed by Earth Metrics scientists to remove the entire [1] colony to a nearby location immediately east of Interstate Highway 80 within the Caltrans right-of-way Biodiversity conservation Biodiversity. "off-site conservation". absence of severe predation. a new colony of which was discovered during a mid-1980s survey at the site of a proposed shopping center in western Contra Costa County in California. animals and micro-organisms. This is because biodiversity provides the fundamental building blocks for the many goods and services a healthy environment provides. for example. their genes. Biodiversity is both essential for our existence and intrinsically valuable in its own right. which may be a wild area or within the care of humans. While ex-situ conservation comprises some of the oldest and best known conservation methods. Once the city ofPinole had decided to approve the shopping center. It is the process of protecting an endangered species of plant or animal outside its natural habitat. and the terrestrial. as well as the many other products such as timber and fibre. fresh water and food products. cultural and spiritual nourishment that maintain our personal and social wellbeing. These include things that are fundamental to our health. Looking after our biodiversity is therefore an important task for all people. it also involves newer. .). marine and freshwater ecosystems of which they are a part. Colony relocation[edit] The best method of maximizing a species chance of survival (when ex-situ methods are required) is by relocating part of the population to a less threatened location. An example of colony relocation in the wild is the case of the endangered Santa Cruz Tarweed. etc. It is extremely difficult to mimic the environment of the original colony location given the large number of variables defining the original colony (microclimate. soils.Ex-situ conservation Ex-situ conservation means literally. is the variety of all species on earth. Other important services provided by our biodiversity include recreational. It is also technically challenging to uproot (in the case of plants) or trap (in the case of animals) the required organisms without undue harm. by removing part of the population from a threatened habitat and placing it in a new location. sometimes controversial laboratory methods. symbiotic species. like clean air.

it is still in decline. fragmentation and degradation of habitat the spread of invasive species unsustainable use of natural resources climate change inappropriate fire regimes changes to the aquatic environment and water flows .Over the last 200 years Australia has suffered the largest documented decline in biodiversity of any continent. The main threats to our biodiversity are:       loss. Despite efforts to manage threats and pressures to biodiversity in Australia.