bio·​di·​ver·​si·​ty | \ ˌbī-(ˌ)ō-də-ˈvər-sə-tē , -dī-\

Definition of biodiversity

: biological diversity in an environment as indicated by numbers of different species of plants and animals

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Other Words from biodiversity

biodiverse \ ˌbī-​(ˌ)ō-​dī-​ˈvərs , -​də-​ \ adjective

Did You Know?

Biodiversity may become the rallying call for the next decade, wrote David Wake in the journal Science in 1989. Indeed, biodiversity is a word you're likely to encounter in writing about ecology and the environment today. But when Wake used it, "biodiversity" was still a relatively new addition to the English language, having first appeared in writing in the mid-1980s. Of course, the roots of biodiversity are much older. It evolved from a commingling of the descendants of the Greek noun bios, which means "mode of life," and the Latin verb divertere, which means "to turn aside" or "to go different ways."

Examples of biodiversity in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The area has a surprisingly rich biodiversity of avian species, even attracting bald eagles in winter. Todd Plummer, Condé Nast Traveler, "3 Best Day Trips From Boston," 9 Aug. 2018 As climate change reduces Earth's biodiversity, a vast ecosystem of microbes is thriving beneath the planet's surface, teeming with hundreds of millions of microscopic lifeforms. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Vast Ecosystem of Underground Organisms Holds More Life Than Earth's Oceans," 11 Dec. 2018 De Broglie credits his childhood with evoking a natural curiosity that’s manifested in his evolving vision of sustainable agriculture and a devotion to biodiversity. Elizabeth Wellington, Vogue, "How a French Prince Is Saving the World From Tasteless Tomatoes," 17 Sep. 2018 South Korea has also taken some proactive measures to increase biodiversity there, by establishing crane conservation areas. Rick Noack, Washington Post, "As Kim walks across border, Germany has an idea how to tear down that ‘wall’ for real," 27 Apr. 2018 But California is an important laboratory to understand the effects of climate change on biodiversity. Peter Fimrite, San Francisco Chronicle, "Climate change ruining California’s environment, report warns," 9 May 2018 The first problem is the simple loss of the biodiversity around us, on which wild ecosystems depend. Rob Dunn, Discover Magazine, "Our Attempts to Eradicate Insects are Just Making them Resistant to Pesticides," 16 Nov. 2018 In addition, biodiversity will plummet due to the number of species that will be eradicated by a half-degree increase in global temperatures, including the almost-certain destruction of most of the world’s coral reefs. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Cities have 15 months to reverse climate change, says new report," 8 Oct. 2018 With 10,500 square miles of coral reef, the Philippines is a global center for marine biodiversity, which the country has struggled to protect in the face of human activity and institutional inaction. Aurora Almendral, New York Times, "In the Philippines, Dynamite Fishing Decimates Entire Ocean Food Chains," 15 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'biodiversity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of biodiversity

1985, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

24 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for biodiversity

The first known use of biodiversity was in 1985

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English Language Learners Definition of biodiversity

: the existence of many different kinds of plants and animals in an environment


bio·​di·​ver·​si·​ty | \ ˌbī-ō-də-ˈvər-sə-tē , -dī-\

Kids Definition of biodiversity

: the existence of many different kinds of plants and animals in an environment

More from Merriam-Webster on biodiversity

Spanish Central: Translation of biodiversity

Nglish: Translation of biodiversity for Spanish Speakers

Comments on biodiversity

What made you want to look up biodiversity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deny responsibility for

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