Describe how the biolodiversity of an ecosystem determines the health of the ecosystembiology

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trophyhunter1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Biodiversity is the variety of life forms found in an ecosystem. Certain areas on Earth which have species richness and thus great biodiversity like the tropical rainforests, and other areas have fewer species and less biodiversity like the Polar regions. Limiting factors that can affect biodiversity are such things as temperature, climate, availability of resources such as water, and amount of insolation available for producers to manufacture glucose. As the rate of extinction has been increasing in recent times due to habitat destruction, pollution, increased ultraviolet radiation due to the hole in the ozone layer, acid rain and others, biodiversity is decreasing globally. This can have negative affects on ecosystems. If a particular species relies on another for food and that species has no place to grow due to habitat destruction, it can have devastating effects. The entire food web in that ecosystem can suffer and organisms can die off. This can lead to less genetic diversity. Biodiversity supports ecosystem services for instance: in wetlands, the plants can aid in water purification. Insects pollinate plants and as bees decline, the ecosystem service they provide cannot be replaced and our producers in the food chain may diminish. The more biodiverse an area is, the healthier it generally is.

bandmanjoe eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Biodiversity is the amount of species a specific biome contains.  Generally speaking, the greater the biodiversity, or the more species within the biome, the greater the health of the biome.  This is because there are more links in the food chain, there are more links to provide support for more organisms, so there are more species present.  When there is more diversity, there are more connections to more species, so the likelihood of the species flourishing and reproducing increases.  The tropical zones typically have the greatest abundance of species, followed by the temperate zones, followed by the polar zones.  What this means is there are more species in the tropical zones, less ion the temperate zones, and few in the polar zones.  Biodiversity increases with increasing precipitation and temperature, and has the opposite effect with decreasing precipitation and temperature.