Measurement of Biodiversity in an Ecosystem

Measurement of biodiversity in an ecosystem post briefly explains about measurement of biodiversity which are species richness and species evenness.

Why do we measure biodiversity?

Biodiversity measurement is helpful in determining stability of ecosystems. Biodiversity is a measure that combines richness and evenness across species. It is often measured because high biodiversity is perceived a synonymous with ecosystem health.

How is biodiversity measured?

Paul Williams, Decair Right and Chris Humpreger made very first attempt to measure Biodiversity as they developed a software called world map to gauge the Biodiversity. Measurement of Biodiversity is done with the help of two major components which are Species Richness and Species Evenness.

Measurement of biodiversity in an ecosystem

Two major components are species richness and species evenness.

Species Richness calculation

Species richness calculation shows the number of different species found in a community, region or landscape and it does not take into account the relative abundance distribution of the species. Species richness is used as a tool to assess the comparative conservation values of the habitat although it is not concerned with the identity of the species. H. Whittaker gave the idea of (i) Alpha, (ii) Beta and (iii) Gama Diversity to describe the spatial component of species diversity.

i. Alpha Diversity

Alpha Diversity shows the total no. of species found in a region and helps in the analytical study of the Biodiversity in various regions. In another word, it is diversity within a particular area.

ii. Beta Diversity

This is associated with the comparison of biodiversity between ecosystem, usually measured as the amount of species change between the ecosystem. It signifies the range of communities formed due to the replacement of the habitat and such variations in habitat occur due to the presence of different niches, Microhabitats and environmental factors.

iii. Gama Diversity

It is the measure of overall diversity for different ecosystem within a particular region i.e it is diversity in the overall landscape. The Alpha diversity and Beta diversity are the independent components of the Gama Diversity.

Species Evenness calculation

It shows the proportion of species at a given site. It shows relative abundance of species in a region i.e. if there is low evenness it means few species dominate the site. Mathematically, Species evenness is measured with the help of diversity Index.

Species Richness Vs Evenness

Species richness shows how many species belonging to a particular area, while species evenness is comparing the no. of individuals across different species. For example, if there are many individuals of a species x while very less individual of another species y then the species evenness will be low since species from both x and y are not equally represented in the population.

The answer to the question of measurement of biodiversity in an ecosystem has been found. You can learn more about biodiversity and importance at

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