Biodiversity is the variability of living organisms; this includes the variability of species, the diversity of ecosystems and the diversity of genes within species. An ecosystem is a community of plants, animals and microorganisms that live, feed, reproduce and interact in the same area or environment. On the basis of variation and distribution, four types of biodiversity can be considered.
Genetic biodiversity involves variation in the genes of a species. In genetic diversity, the genetic makeup of a species differs among individuals and can be recombined variously to produce a new generation. Genetic diversity plays a major role in the adaptability and survival of a species. When a species’s environment changes, slight variations in genes are required for it to adapt and survive.
Species diversity is a measure of the diversity of species within an ecological community. A species is defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. Species diversity is also influenced by the relative abundance of individuals in each species found in a particular community. The communities with more species, each having viable numbers of individuals, are considered to be more diverse.
Ecological diversity is defined as the variety of biological communities or ecosystems in a given area. All the different habitats and biological communities are considered, as well as variation within individual ecosystems.
Functional diversity is the variety of responses by species to environmental changes. A low functional diversity means that the ecosystem is not stable, as some species may not react well to environmental stress, while high functional diversity means that the community as a whole is stable and may react well and adapt to change.