Faculty of SITE Northern Territory University Flora & Fauna Survey Techniques
what is flora and fauna survey?
example 1
example 2
example 3
compare ideas
biological diversity
why survey?
factors to consider
preparing to sample
flora survey techniques
fauna survey techniques
analysing data
presenting data

Biological diversity

Biodiversity is a relatively new term, first used in 1981. Since then it has become one of the most widely used terms in biological conservation. Simply put, it represents the variety of all living organisms, including diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.

The majority of flora and fauna surveys estimate only one or two levels of biodiversity, these being the species level, and community or ecosystem level. Surveys of intra-species diversity (which are usually genetic studies) require much more effort and complex methods in order to document even the genotypes present in a single population of a single species.

The paper by Harper and Hawksworth (1995) (Reading 1) introduces the term 'biodiversity' and discusses some of the difficulties in trying to measure it.

Please read:

Reading 1

Harper, J.L & Hawksworth, D.L. (1995). Preface to Biodiversity: Measurement and Estimation. In: Hawksworth, D. L. (eds.), Biodiversity: Measurement and Estimation. Chapman and Hall, London.



1. Environment Australia's Biodiversity Group
Major commonwealth government department responsible for research into Australia's biodiversity. Many links to other state-based projects and international conventions.

2. Defenders of Biodiversity
An article about the threats to biodiversity and the biosphere, reproduced from DEFENDERS Magazine, Summer 1993 issue.

3. Charles Sturt University
Provides links to Australian and overseas biodiversity websites.

4. Australian Biological Research Network virtual library

Provides links to Australian and overseas conservation websites.

5. Centre for Biodiversity and Bioresources, Macquarie University
This Centre undertakes research and education projects on Australia's biological diversity.


After exploring these resources, please make notes on the definition of biodiversity, and the objectives and methods of sampling it. This will form the basis of our next online tutorial.


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