What is Biodiversity?

(Bio = Life) + (Diversity = Variety)
Biodiversity = Variety of Life
A small, brown pika hides among rocks.
A small, brown pika hides among rocks.

JR Douglass, NPS Photo.

Biological diversity (or biodiversity) is the variety of life on Earth. It includes all living things, not just the plants and animals that are common or easily seen. It includes species that are not well known, such as microorganisms or invertebrates. Biodiversity refers to life on land, in the water, in the air, in deserts and caves—even in hot springs or glaciers!

Mushroom
Mushroom.

NPS Photo.

The term biodiversity encompasses life at all its levels, from ecosystems to species to genes. To study biodiversity is to study the complete web of life that makes Earth the only known planet upon which the human species can live.