History of Rhizobial Taxonomy

  • En Tao Wang
  • J. Peter W. Young


Biological diversity or biodiversity refers to the wide variety of living things on Earth, including the diversity of ecosystems, diversity of species and diversity of genes. Although studies of biodiversity have a long history, the term “biodiversity” was first used in 1986 by Walter G. Rosen in National Forum on Biodiversity (de Andrade Franco 2013). Ecosystem diversity is the largest scale of biodiversity and concerns systems such as the terrestrial ecosystem, the aquatic ecosystem, agricultural ecosystems, forestry ecosystems, etc., in which the organisms colonise and interact in trophic chains. The diversity of ecosystems can be measured in terms of variation in the complexity of communities, such as trophic levels, niche types/numbers, productivity and biotransformation efficiencies, etc., that depend on both species and genetic diversity (Ives and Carpente 2009). Species diversity is related to the numbers of species represented in the ecosystems or communities and considers both species richness and their relative abundance (species evenness) (Hill 1973). Gene or genetic diversity is usually applied to the biodiversity within species, relating to the total number of genetic characteristics in their chromosomes. This diversity allows microbial populations or species to adapt different environments. A greater gene diversity in a population or species means the existence of more alleles that offer the population and species a greater chance to adapt to variations in the environment and to maintain the population. It has been estimated that about 5.3 × 1031 megabases (Mb) of DNA exist on Earth (Landenmark et al. 2015), which form a huge gene pool for diverse metabolic pathways and for diversification of the species. In conclusion, biodiversity was defined by Wilson (1992) as “… all hereditarily based variation at all levels of organization, from the genes within a single local population, to the species composing all or part of a local community, and finally to the communities themselves that compose the living parts of the multifarious ecosystems of the world”.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • En Tao Wang
    • 1
  • J. Peter W. Young
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Microbiología, Escuela Nacional de Ciencias BiológicasInstituto Politécnico NacionalCiudad de MexicoMexico
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of YorkYorkUK

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