Beyond counting species: A new way to look at biodiversity

Cristina Llopis-Belenguer, Isabel Blasco-Costa, Juan Antonio Balbuena


In modern ecology, the traditional diversity indices (usually of richness, abundance, and species evenness) have been highly revealing and useful for monitoring community and ecosystem processes. However, around two decades ago, a pioneering research team noticed that these indices did not completely resolve their open questions. Thus, they suggested changing the way biodiversity was measured. At its base, this new methodology considers the distance between species (in phylogenetic or functional terms) before subsequently applying the appropriate biodiversity indices. Including phylogenetic and functional elements in the evaluation of diversity allows us to approach the concept of biodiversity in a more comprehensive way. 


classical diversity indexes; functional diversity; phylogenetic diversity; functional traits; genetic distances

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