Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life. This can refer to genetic variation, species variation, or ecosystem variation within an area, biome, or planet. Terrestrial biodiversity tends to be highest at low latitudes near the equator, which seems to be the result of the warm climate and high primary productivity. Marine biodiversity tends to be highest along coasts in the Western Pacific, where sea surface temperature is highest and in mid-latitudinal band in all oceans. 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. One ...view middle of the document...
The United Nations designated 2011-2020 as the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity.
The term biological diversity was used first by wildlife scientist and conservationist Raymond F. Dasmann in the 1968 lay book A Different Kind of Country advocating conservation. The term was widely adopted only after more than a decade, when in the 1980s it came into common usage in science and environmental policy. Thomas Lovejoy, in the foreword to the book Conservation Biology, introduced the term to the scientific community. Until then the term "natural diversity" was common, introduced by The Science Division of The Nature Conservancy in an important 1975 study, "The Preservation of Natural Diversity." By the early 1980s TNC's Science program and its head, Robert E. Jenkins, Lovejoy and other leading conservation scientists at the time in America advocated the use of the term "biological diversity".
The term's contracted form biodiversity may have been coined by W.G. Rosen in 1985 while planning the 1986 National Forum on Biological Diversity organized by the National Research Council (NRC). It first appeared in a publication in 1988 when socio-biologist E. O. Wilson used it as the title of the proceedings of that forum.
Since this period the term has achieved widespread use among biologists, environmentalists, political leaders, and concerned citizens.
"Biodiversity" is most commonly used to replace the more clearly defined and long established terms, species diversity and species richness. Biologists most often define biodiversity as the "totality of genes, species, and ecosystems of a region". An advantage of this definition is that it seems to describe most circumstances and presents a unified view of the traditional three levels at which biological variety has been identified:
• Species diversity
• Ecosystem diversity
• Genetic diversity
In 2003 Professor Anthony Campbell at Cardiff University, UK and the Darwin Centre, Pembrokeshire, defined a fourth level: Molecular Diversity.
This multilevel construct is consistent with Dasmann and Lovejoy. An explicit definition consistent with this interpretation was first given in a paper by Bruce A. Wilcox commissioned by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) for the 1982 World National Parks Conference. The 1992 United Nations Earth Summit defined "biological diversity" as "the variability among living organisms from all sources, including, 'inter alia', terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems, and the ecological complexes of which they are part: this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems". This definition is used in the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.
One textbook's definition is "variation of life at all levels of biological organization".
Genetically biodiversity can be defined as the diversity of alleles, genes, and organisms. They study processes such as...