[biofilms & biodiversity]

Let's Calculate Biodiversity
Virtual Samples

Now that you know how to compute species richness and other measures of biodiversity, try each of these two virtual samples from the Baltimore Inner Harbor. For each virtual sample, you will be asked to enumerate the organisms (the biodiversity measures will be calculated for you).

A new window will open when you click on either sample:

[low biodiversity]

Virtual Sample #1

[high biodiversity]

Virtual Sample #2

After you determined the biodivesity measurements for both samples, please think about the following:

Why do we need to have these measurements if we can look at the number of species and see that there is greater biodiversity in virtual sample #1 vs #2?

This is a great question. Think about all of the measurements that we take each day to forecast the weather. If we were to stop taking measurements of temperature and simply relied on a description like "today it will be hot and tomorrow it will be hotter", we would not have a very accurate measurement of temperature.

If we did not calculate the biodiversity values we would not be able to say how much more or less diverse one community is from another. Nor could we say if there is any impact from good or poor water quality conditions.