bio·​di·​ver·​si·​ty | \ ˌbī-(ˌ)ō-də-ˈvər-sə-tē How to pronounce biodiversity (audio) , -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 How to pronounce biodiverse (audio) , -​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 Its core protected reserve is the continent’s second largest and will remain completely untouched, a laboratory for the study of biodiversity and adaptation to climate change. National Geographic, "At France’s newest national park, it’s all about the trees," 1 Sep. 2020 The program pays farmers to protect watersheds and biodiversity or capture carbon dioxide. Lindsey Mcginnis, The Christian Science Monitor, "Points of Progress: Esselen Tribe reclaims land, and more," 21 Aug. 2020 Leading up to the mass extinction event 359 million years ago, evidence in the fossil record suggests that Earth's biodiversity declined over 300,000 years -- the other extinction events of the Devonian period. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Multiple star explosions may have contributed to a mass extinction on Earth," 21 Aug. 2020 The country is under increasing pressure from foreign governments and investors to protect the forest, along with its carbon and biodiversity, or face diplomatic and economic consequences. Herton Escobar, Science | AAAS, "Illegal deforestation in Brazil soars amid climate of impunity," 5 Aug. 2020 At least 4,000 bee species are native to the lower 48 states, with the desert Southwest serving as a particularly hot spot for bee biodiversity. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Environmental groups want to block honeybees from Utah’s national forests," 23 Aug. 2020 Consisting of more than 37 million acres, its rich biodiversity is recognized in Brazil's constitution and also by UNESCO. Eduardo Duwe And Marcia Reverdosa, CNN, "Fires destroy home of one of the world's rarest birds in Brazil," 18 Aug. 2020 Deep-sea research is also critical to advancing global knowledge of marine biodiversity and ecological processes. Michael W. Lodge, Scientific American, "How to Mine the Oceans Sustainably," 11 Aug. 2020 The decline of seabird populations, says, Plazas-Jiménez, is devastating to local cultures that have used the organic fertilizers for generations, local economies that depend on fisheries, and the world’s biodiversity. Courtney Sexton, Smithsonian Magazine, "Seabird Poop Is Worth More Than $1 Billion Annually," 10 Aug. 2020

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

History and Etymology for biodiversity

bio- + diversity

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Time Traveler for biodiversity

Time Traveler

The first known use of biodiversity was in 1985

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Statistics for biodiversity

Last Updated

8 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Biodiversity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for biodiversity


How to pronounce biodiversity (audio)

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 How to pronounce biodiversity (audio) , -dī- \

Kids Definition of biodiversity

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

More from Merriam-Webster on biodiversity

Nglish: Translation of biodiversity for Spanish Speakers

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