Difference Between Genetic Diversity and Species Diversity

Main Difference – Genetic Diversity vs Species Diversity

The variety of life forms of a particular area are referred to as biodiversity. The diversity of our biosphere ranges from macromolecules of a cell to different biomes. Genetic diversity, species diversity, and ecological diversity are three types of biodiversity. The main difference between genetic diversity and species diversity is that genetic diversity is the differences of DNA among individuals of a particular species whereas species diversity is the variety of species in a particular region. Ecological diversity is the variety of ecosystems in a particular area. In order to conserve the biodiversity, the ecosystems and habitats should be protected.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Genetic Diversity
     – Definition, Characteristics, Role
2. What is Species Diversity
     – Definition, Characteristics, Role
3. What are the Similarities Between Genetic Diversity and Species Diversity
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Genetic Diversity and Species Diversity
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Biodiversity, Characteristics, Ecosystems, Genetic Diversity, Habitats, Population, Species, Species Diversity

Difference Between Genetic Diversity and Species Diversity - Comparison Summary

What is Genetic Diversity

Genetic diversity refers to the diversity of genes within a species. Therefore, it represents a variety of genes within a species. The basic unit of life on earth is the gene. Gene is responsible for all of the characteristics, both the similarities and the differences between organisms. The individuals of each species comprise their own specific genetic composition. Each population of the same species also contain different genetic compositions. Therefore, in order to conserve the genetic diversity, each different population of the species should be conserved. If a single species is lost from an ecosystem, substantial genetic resources also lost from the ecosystem. For example in Australia, the Tasmanian tiger, which is one of the species of dasyurid has lost forever. A Tasmanian tiger is shown in figure 1.

Main Difference - Genetic Diversity vs Species Diversity

Figure 1: A Tasmanian Tiger

The degree of genetic diversity varies among different groups of animals. The animals that came from the recent evolutionary lines such as kangaroos possess higher genetic similarities among individuals. But dasyurids, which come from an ancient line, are genetically very diverse.

What is Species Diversity

Species diversity refers to the vast numbers of different species in a particular area. Based on the similarities, species can be grouped into families. Some of the species or the families are endemic to a particular area. 99% of the animal species are invertebrate species. This includes insects, crabs, worms, snails, seastars, and corals. Insects serve as pollinators, scavengers, and recyclers of nutrients in ecosystems.

Some of the habitats consist of many species while the other consist of less number of species. Rainforests and coral reefs are rich in species diversity whereas salt flats and polluted stream are poor in species diversity. Different forest fruits are shown in figure 2.

Difference Between Genetic Diversity and Species Diversity

Figure 2: Forest Fruits

Species richness leads to high biodiversity in a particular area. However, pollution reduces the species diversity of ecosystems.

Similarities Between Genetic Diversity and Species Diversity

  • Both genetic diversity and species diversity are two types of biodiversity.
  • Both genetic diversity and species diversity describe variations.

Difference Between Genetic Diversity and Species Diversity

Definition

Genetic Diversity: Genetic diversity refers to the diversity of genes within a species.

Species Diversity: Species diversity refers to the vast number of different species in a particular area.

Related to

Genetic Diversity: Genetic diversity is related to the number of genes in a particular population.

Species Diversity: Species diversity refers to the number and the distribution of species in a particular area.

Trait

Genetic Diversity: Genetic diversity is a trait of the species.

Species Diversity: Species diversity is a trait of the community.

Promotion

Genetic Diversity: Genetic diversity promotes the adaptability and distribution of a particular species in diverse habitats.  

Species Diversity: Species diversity promotes the biotic interactions and stability of the community.

Conclusion

Genetic diversity and species diversity are two types of biodiversity. Genetic diversity is the variation of genes within a particular species. Species diversity is the variation of species within a particular area. The main difference between genetic diversity and species diversity is the type of variation of each type of diversity.

Reference:

“WHAT IS BIODIVERSITY?” Australian Museum, Available here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Cheetah genetic diversity” By Chuck Bargeron, University of Georgia, United States –  Image Number 0009170 at Forestry Images -transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Richard001 using CommonsHelper (CC BY 3.0 us) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Forest fruits from Barro Colorado” By Photos courtesy of Christian Ziegler. – Beyond Neutrality—Ecology Finds Its Niche. Gewin V, PLoS Biology Vol. 4/8/2006, e278 (CC BY 2.5) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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