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This article will guide you through the steps required to measure biodiversity yourself -

 

1.Choose the broad taxonomic group/s of organisms you are interested in studying and the site where you want to carry out your study. Find out what you want to know about the particular group of interest in the particular site. Do you want to compare the group biodiversity of that site with another site? Do you want to just know how many species of the group of interest are found in that site? 

 

 

2. Your question/aim of your study will help you decide which biodiversity index you'll require to analyse your data and interpret it's results.  

 

 

3. Once you have decided which index/indices you want to use. Read a  standardized methodology for collecting data on your group of interest. Select a statistical sampling framework which you will use along with the sampling method. You may want to view the section on planning a study on the page  “Steps involved in the Process of Research” to make sure you haven't forgotten anything and to give you a few ideas you may not have thought of.

 

 

4.Gather the equipment mentioned in the methodology page, along with a data-sheet (on which you will write the data which you will collect at the study site ). A standardized basic data sheet is provided attached to each methodology page which corresponds to and is suggested for use with the methodology of that page. The data sheet is in the form of an excel template.

 

 

5.Go to your study site and collect data on your chosen group/s based on the instructions given in the methodology page. Remember to use the species accumulation curve to find out how much time you need to survey the area to get a sufficient amount of data for the purpose of your study. Return and enter all the data into an excel sheet (like the template given on the methodology page).

 

 

6. The biodiversity indices page has a number of commonly used indices. Each index has a description with a link leading to a page that deals with the (free) software and data analysis procedures that are to be used with this software to carry out the analysis. Follow the instructions for analysing the data based on the particular index you have chosen to use. 

 

 

7.   If you get this far you've just measured biodiversity in an area and can start making your own contributions towards conservation research.

 

 

8. Be sure to write up your study and publish it so others know what you've done. That way your conservation research efforts can truly make a difference!

 

 

 

About the Author of this Article

 References -

Southwood. T. Methods in Ecology - Published by Blackwell Science Ltd.