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Concepts: Biodiversity is the diversity of life in all its forms and at all levels of organization. It includes ecosystem diversity (among mature ecosystems and among successional stages within ecosystems), species diversity (among species), and genetic diversity (among individual organisms, populations, and subspecies, all within species). The amount of species diversity in an area is positively related to the amount of ecosystem diversity in an area. Species depend on properly functioning ecosystems, interactions with other species, and their internal genetic diversity for survival. Predator-prey relationships, fire, and fluctuations in population size can have important effects on species diversity. Conservation biology, the study of biodiversity and its maintenance, is young, rapidly growing, and highly multidisciplinary. It draws heavily from both basic and applied natural sciences, and from social sciences and humanities.



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