Difference Between Genetic Diversity and Species Diversity

Genetic Diversity vs Species Diversity

Attempts to convince the importance of conservation of the biodiversity have been in practice for quite some years, but the aspects of biodiversity have not been well penetrated in to most of the people. However, there are three main levels of biodiversity such as genetic, species, and ecosystem. All these levels are important and related to each other. Genetic diversity and species diversity are both determined through the variation of ecosystems and the variability of the environment. However, there are considerable differences between genetic and species diversity.

What is Genetic Diversity?

Genetic diversity could be defined as the variations within and among species in the form of the genetic makeup. There are two important points to comprehend about the term; one is that it relates with genetic material, and the other is that it could be related with either one species or more than that. Genetic diversity is considered the baseline level of biodiversity.

Diversity is a combination of both variety and variability; the genetic diversity serves all the species to be adaptable for the challenging environmental demands. The potential for a particular species to change is highly valuable over the differing demands of the environment; indeed, the environment has always been changing over time. The dinosaurs could not stand up to the demands after the meteorite has struck the Earth, and went extinct. If there were enough genetic diversity and time to adapt to the conditions as the mammals did, dinosaurs would still be on this planet. Lack of genetic diversity has been a big problem for cheetahs to exist a long time; they, in fact, are genetically bottlenecked. The presence of a high genetic diversity means it is a versatile population.

What is Species Diversity?

Species diversity is the variation and variability of species in a particular area or volume at a particular time. Usually, these areas or volumes are the ecosystems or interested places. Species diversity is not only about the number of different species present in a particular place of interest, but it indicates how abundant those are. That means the species diversity is a composition of species richness and species evenness.

Species richness is the total number of species while species evenness is an indication of their abundance. When the number of species is high in a place, it gives the impression of a great diversity. However, hunting and overexploitation with many other major causes have unintentionally led to the decrease of biodiversity. Additionally, the overexploitation of natural resources has also been a major threat to the biodiversity to shrink as it reduces available ecosystems for the natural fauna and flora. Species diversity is an important indication of the ecological balance, and it should be as high as possible to sustain life on Earth.

What is the difference between Genetic Diversity and Species Diversity?

• Both are levels of biodiversity, but each has its level limited to genetic and species as the name indicates.

• Genetic diversity can be measured by evaluating the number of genes while species diversity can be measured by evaluating the number of species and their evenness.

• Genetic diversity has more potential to affect the species diversity than not.

• Genetic diversity may not be directly viewed, whereas species richness is always tangible.