Species Diversity Within and Among Ecosystems



Species diversity is a function of species richness, the number of species in a given locality and species evenness, the degree to which the relative abundances of species are similar [1, 2]. While this notion may be easy to conceptualize, it has proven difficult, and at time contentious, to quantify [1, 2]. Commonly used methods include constructing mathematical indices known as diversity indexes (the Shannon, Simpson, and Margalef indexes being the most widely used) or comparing observed patterns of species abundance to theoretical models [3]. There is no single best metric and often commonly used ones are chosen because they are familiar and not necessarily because they are the most appropriate [1]. The scale of assessment may range from within a single site or habitat (known as α diversity) to the difference between two or more sites (β diversity) [4], which can then be combined to give γ diversity – the diversity of the landscape. Early research tended to be concentrated on largely α diversity, but there has been a marked increase in studies investigating β and γ diversity during the last decade [1].


Species Richness Ecosystem Service Ecosystem Function High Species Richness Amphibian Species 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The variability among living organisms from all sources and the ecological complexes of which they are part biodiversity includes diversity within species between species and of ecosystems.


A dynamic complex of plant, animal, and microorganism communities and their nonliving environment interacting as a functional unit.

Ecosystem service

The benefits people obtain from ecosystems these include provisioning services such as food and water regulating services such as flood and disease control cultural services such as recreation or spiritual benefits and supporting services such as nutrient cycling.


A geographic entity within a species that is distinguished either ecologically or genetically.

Species (biological species concept)

Interbreeding natural groups whose members are unable to successfully reproduce with members of other such groups.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Zoological Society of LondonLondonUK

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