Biodiversity is a compound word meaning "biological diversity" - the full variety of life on Earth and the interactions and relationships between these life forms. (Chadwick, 1993)

A Colorful Diversity of Butterflies. This image is copyrighted by SuperStock Inc and was downloaded from

As species and habitat losses climb to the top of the planet's list of environmental threats, researchers worldwide are becoming more concerned about preserving biodiversity. But the word itself has become a buzzword in the last decade, and is frequently tossed around by environmental activists and political groups without much explanation of its actual meaning.

It would be virtually impossible for scientists to measure Earth's biodiversity by any numerical value. The number of species on the planet remains a mystery and ecologists disagree about borders distinguishing habitats.

Ecologists study Earth's biodiversity on three general levels:

Ecological Diversity Species Diversity Genetic Diversity

What is biodiversity? | Global Hotspots | Mass Extinction | Florida Everglades | Bibliography