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Biodiversity is the total of all the genetic variation contained within the biosphere (living world).

Biodiversity may be considered locally or globally. Local biodiversity can cover any amount of space. Examples of local biodiversity would be the number of species found in a local park, in a city, or on a continent. Global biodiversity covers the entire world.

Biodiversity is measured in four main ways:

  • taxonomic diversity (usually measured at the species diversity level)
  • ecological diversity often viewed from the perspective of ecosystem diversity
  • morphological diversity which stems from genetic diversity and molecular diversity
  • functional diversity which is a measure of the number of functionally disparate species within a population (e.g. different feeding mechanism, different motility, predator vs prey, etc.)

(see Introduction for references)

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