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

Wolf Pecher, an associate professor at the University of Baltimore, leads Dan to the rare native plant, the purple-stemmed cliff brake, discovered growing in a railroad bridge abutment during a recent biodiversity survey in the Jones Falls Valley. Dan Rodricks,, "What's growing in Baltimore: purple cliff brakes and 100 orchards," 11 June 2018 Conservation biologists quickly sounded an urgent alarm, warning that the invader could devastate the African island’s unique biodiversity, which includes lemurs and hundreds of other animals found nowhere else in the world. Katie Langin, Science | AAAS, "Top stories: toxic toads, three-parent babies in Singapore, and the hunt for the Lost Colony," 8 June 2018 His work focuses on saving biodiversity hot spots around the world and working with local communities to make that happen. Sarah Bowman, Indianapolis Star, "Russ Mittermeier discovers 18 new species and travels to more than 170 countries," 8 June 2018 That’s largely because of the emphasis on awe-inspiring scenery at the expense of biodiversity-rich lowlands, and wildlife management that favors prey species at the expense of ecosystems. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "Does Outdoor Recreation Correlate With Environmental Values?," 18 May 2018 The Prince of Wales was an early supporter of MET and has been a Transylvania booster for decades, bankrolling several local projects tied to his interests in sustainability, biodiversity, and architectural conservation. Christopher Bagley, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Bewitching Time Warp of Transylvania, Romania," 4 May 2018 Studies have shown that completely closing a portion of the ocean off to activities like fishing and drilling helps keep wildlife populations healthy and increases biodiversity. National Geographic, "Marine Protected Areas Are Important. But Are They Working?," 16 June 2018 Over time, the combination of these things lowered the biodiversity of the soil. Emily Hopkins,, "Your produce is less healthy than it was 70 years ago. These farmers might change that," 4 July 2018 But scientists who have studied coral history warn that the artificial threat of global warming could lead to mass bleaching events and death, which would be a severe blow to biodiversity on the planet. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Coral Might Be Adjusting Its DNA to Survive Warming Oceans," 11 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

5 Sep 2018

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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

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to make amends

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