The term “biodiversity” has been derived from ‘bio’ and ‘diversity’. “Diversity” means variety within a species and among species. Biodiversity is a measure of the variety of organisms present in different ecosystems.
The branch of biology which deals with classification is called taxonomy and the branch which deals with classification and also traces the evolutionary history of organisms is known as systematics.
Classification is based on relationship amongst organisms and such relationship is got through similarities in characteristics.
The groups into which organisms are classified are known as taxonomic categories or taxa (singular “taxon”). The taxa form a ladder, called taxonomic hierarchy. All organisms are divided into five kingdoms. So kingdom is the largest taxon. On the basis of similarities, each kingdom is further divided into smaller taxa in the following way:
Phylum (Division: for plants and fungi): A phylum is a group of related classes.
Class: A class is a group of related orders.
Order: An order is a group of related families.
Family: A family is a group of related genera.
Genus: A genus is a group of related species.
Species: A species consists of similar organisms.
Species is the basic unit of classification. “A species is a group of organisms which can interbreed freely among them and produce fertile offspring, but are reproductively isolated from all other such groups in nature.” Each species possesses its own distinct structural, ecological and behavioural characteristics.
The scientific method in which biological problems are solved, is termed as biological method
A biological problem is a question related to living organisms that is either asked by some one or comes in biologist’s mind by himself.
Observations are made with five senses of vision, hearing, smell, taste and touch. Observations may be both qualitative and quantitative
Biologist organizes his/her and others’ observations into data form and constructs a statement that may prove to be the answer of the biological problem under study. This tentative explanation of observations is called a hypothesis
Deductions are the logical consequences of hypotheses.
Biologist performs experiments to see if hypotheses are true or not.
Biologist gathers actual, quantitative data from experiments. Data for each of the groups are then averaged and compared statistically. To draw conclusions, biologist also uses statistical analysis
Biologists publish their findings in scientific journals and books, in talks at national and international meetings and in seminars at colleges and universities. Publishing of results is an essential part of scientific method. It allows other people to verify the results or apply the knowledge to solve other problems.