Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso


  • Simon Tillier
  • Guillaume Lecointre
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_1836-4



Biodiversity designates the condition of life on Earth in terms of its variation at all levels of biological organization, from genes to ecosystems. By extension, it is used to designate life on Earth itself, most generally at the species level but often also at all organization levels altogether. The political impact of the term led to a definition adopted by the International Convention on Biological Diversity (Art.2): “Biological diversity’ means the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems” (Convention on Biological Diversity 1992).


Although first introduced in the end of the 1960s, the word biodiversity, as a contraction of biological diversity, has been coined by Walter G. Rosen while preparing a national US scientific forum...


Ecology Ecosystem services Environment Evolution Systematics Taxonomy 
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References and Further Reading

  1. Convention on Biological Diversity (1992) N°30619. United Nations, treaty series, 1760, 1993. pp 142–308Google Scholar
  2. Consortium Barcode of Life (2010) http://www.barcodinglife.org/
  3. Dirzo R, Raven PH (2003) Global state of biodiversity and loss. Annu Rev Environ Resour 28:137–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Diversitas (2002) Diversitas science plan. Diversitas, ParisGoogle Scholar
  5. Diversitas (2010) An international programme of biodiversity science. http://www.diversitas-international.org
  6. Edwards JL, Lane MA, Nielsen ES (2000) Interoperability of biodiversity databases: biodiversity information on every desktop. Science 289(5488):2312–2314CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  7. Erwin TL (1982) Tropical forests: their richness in Coleoptera and other arthropod species, 3Coleopterists’. Bulletin 36:74–75Google Scholar
  8. GBIF (2010) Global Biodiversity Information Facility. http://www.gbif.org.
  9. Golding GB, Hanner R, Hebert P (eds) (2009) Special issue on barcoding. Mol Ecol Resour 9(supplement) 1:1–267Google Scholar
  10. Hennig W (1966) Phylogenetic systematics. University of Illinois Press, UrbanaGoogle Scholar
  11. IPBES (2010) Intergovernmental science-policy platform for biodiversity and ecosystem services. http://IPBES.net
  12. Larigauderie A, Mooney HA (2010) The intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services: moving a step closer to an IPCC-like mechanism for biodiversity. Curr Opin Environ Sustain 2:1–2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) http://www.maweb.org
  14. Naeem S, Bunker D, Hector A, Loreau M, Perrings C (2009) Biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Scholes RJ et al (2008) Toward a global biodiversity observation system. Science 321:1044–1045CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Wilson EO (ed) (1988) Biodiversity. National Academy Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Département Systématique et Evolution, UMR 7138 CNRS-MNHN-UPMC-IRDMuséum National d’Histoire NaturelleParisFrance