What is Diversity in the Living World?
A large variety or Iiving organisms such as herbs, shrubs, trees, insects, dogs, birds, cats or other animals and plants are easily seen around us. Also, there are many other organisms which are present around us but we cannot see them with naked eyes like viruses, bacteria etc. These are visible only under microscope.
Although, when we consider vast areas like forest, desert, plateau etc. we find that number and kinds of living organisms increase many folds. These different kinds of plants, animals and other organisms are referred to as ‘Biodiversity’ of this earth.
Biodiversity is the number and various kinds of organisms found on earth. It stands for the variability found among living organisms inhabiting this world. Diversity differs from place to place as each habitat has its distinct biota (ie., life). So, every time we explore some new or even old areas, new organisms are found or discovered. It is so because environmental conditions of the area vary with time as well as the range of tolerance of species also varies which determine whether or not a particular species can occur in that area
Hence, biodiversity (Greek word bios = life; diversity = forms) or biological diversity can be defined as the vast array of species of microorganisms, algae, fungi, plants, animals occurring on the earth either in the terrestrial or aquatic habitats and the ecological complexes of which they are a part.
According to IUCN (International Union of Conservation of Nature and Natural resources), currently known and described species of all organisms are betwgen 1.7-1.8 million. fhere are milions of plants, animals and otner organisms in the world that cannot be recognised, studied or described by an individual on its own. As we recognise the plants or animals in our own area by their local names, which vary from place to place even within a city, state or country as the persons inhabiting in different regions have diferent languages and perspective. Hence, there is need to standardise the names of aliving organisms after proper identification, in order to study such diverse life forms. Therefore, for better understanding of biodiversity scientists have established a definite system of principles, procedures and terms which identifies, categories and assigns specific name to each and every organism known to us. Such systems are acceptable to all biologists all over the world.
The scientific need for simple, stable and internationally accepted systems for naming the living organIsms of the world has generated, a process called “Nomenclature“. And, before assigning a specific name to an organism, one should determine or know its kind or features correctly, so that one can identify it in each and every part of the world. This is known as “Identification“.
Rules and Recommendations of Nomenclature
Various biologists follow a definite procedure or criteria while studying these variety of organisms which include – identification, nomenclature and classification. Their study is also facilitated by agreed principles and criteria set by biologists all over the world. Likewise, the set of rules and recommendations dealing with the formal names of plants is given or set in International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN), while the rules of scientfic naming of animals is assigned in International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN). Such names which are kept by consent of scientists under codes set by ICBN or ICZN are known as scientific names. These are universally accepted and each species nas only one name, 1.e., they are unique for every individual species. Also, all the people all over the world are able to correctily identty thename of various living organisms, describe to them. So, these names avoid any kind of ambiguity in names of variety of organisms. Similarly International Code of Nomenclature of Bacteria (ICNB), International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP) and International Code of Virus Classification and Nomenclature (ICVCN) also exist.