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Term Species diversity

Variety of species that exist in a place or region. It can encompass all living species, from microorganisms to plants and vertebrate animals, or it may include only a group of species of interest in a particular study. It is typically measured as the number of different species and their relative quantity in a given area. This measurement is known as species richness. Examples of species diversity are the species richness of monkeys in Brazil, the species richness of orchids in Costa Rica, or the species richness of birds in the Dominican Republic.

Another way of measuring species diversity is through the use of an indicator called "taxonomic diversity," which takes into account the relationship between certain species and others. For example, a tropical cloud forest with 10 species of orchids and zero species of bromeliads is less wealthy than a similar forest that has five species of orchids and five species of bromeliads, as it represents greater taxonomic diversity.

It is also important to mention the existence of diversity indices developed by scientists that take into account other parameters, such as the relative abundance of species. Such indices assign a higher value when there are more individuals of a species per area unit. It is considered that a forest with a greater number of trees belonging to a specific species - for example, a species of pine tree - is richer than an area of equal size but with a smaller number of individuals of the same species.

Currently, most scientists estimate that there are some 33 million species in the world, although we only know of about 10%, and no more than 1.4 million have been formally described by taxonomists and have a scientific name registered in official literature.

The island of Hispaniola has nearly 6,000 species of vascular plants, of which 34% are endemic or exclusive to the island. Despite this fact, scientists estimate that current studies are not comprehensive enough to allow the discovery of the whole range of the island’s flora. Regarding vertebrates, 399 species of fish, 65 amphibians, 146 reptiles, 306 birds and 48 mammals are known.1 Data on invertebrates, on the other hand, is disperse and poorly documented. To date, some 5,100 living species of arthropods are listed, among which insects are dominant, with about 4,200 species, and specifically arachnids, represented by some 500 species.2 

A study conducted by Herrera and Betancourt in 2005 on the marine fauna of Hispaniola produced a representation of 2,353 species of invertebrates and fish, belonging to 44 higher taxonomic groups. There were 1,955 species in the Dominican Republic, which added about 900 new records to the last national inventory of marine biodiversity carried out by the Center for Research on Marine Biology (CIBIMA) in 1994 .3

1 Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales; UASD (Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo); PNUMA (Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente). Informe GEO República Dominicana 2010: Estado y Perspectivas del Medio Ambiente; PNUMA: Santo Domingo, D.N., 2010, p. 110.

2Pérez-Gelabert, D. Hacia un inventario taxonómico de la fauna de artrópodos de La Hispaniola, V Congreso de la Biodiversidad Caribeña, Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, República Dominicana, 2005.

3 Herrera-Moreno, A.; Betancourt-Fernández, L. Inventario de la Fauna Marian de la Hispaniola; Ciencia y Sociedad, 2005, 30, p. 161.

Additional Information
GraphicNĂºmero de especies conocidos por la ciencia
Topic  BiodiversityForest resourcesProtected areasUse / land coverResources coastal / marine