16 votes
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Why aren't animals diverse in phenotype?

In your question, your assumption that animal species are less diverse phenotypically than humans is wrong. I am sure you will appreciate @terdon's answer to this post and @rg255 answer to this post. ...
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9 votes
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How close genetically is the most human-like chimpanzee to the most chimp-like human?

You may be interested in this 2005 Nature paper from the Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium: Initial sequence of the chimpanzee genome and comparison with the human genome. It breaks down ...
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6 votes

What ways are there to determine how big genera are?

Bearing in mind that the information is bound to be incomplete (as is the list of existing species), you could use the NCBI taxonomy database. For example, checking the page for the Drosophila genus ...
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6 votes

Why aren't animals diverse in phenotype?

I'd like to add that the variations in individuals within a species are a fundamental observation upon which modern biology is standing. Darwin wrote at least 2 chapters of Origin of Species ...
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  • 27.5k
6 votes
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Database of Geographic Range of Species

This is to a large extent a question of how reliable the data in the database needs to be. Reliability (and spatial scale) will differ between datasets and between species groups within datasets, and ...
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6 votes
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How to compare diversity between different ecosystems?

Have a look at the Wikipedia page on Diversity Index Here are the indices that the wikipedia page describes "True Diversity" Index Species Richness Shannon Index Rényi entropy Simpson index Inverse ...
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  • 67.5k
6 votes

How close genetically is the most human-like chimpanzee to the most chimp-like human?

The answer given by leekaiinthesky and partially in the comments on the question give a good general picture. I also think that the variation within the respective species is way less than between the ...
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  • 2,877
6 votes
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What is the weight percentage of all people as compared to all Natural life?

This has been studied in this paper, and they came up with: Total biomass = 550 gigatons of carbon Human biomass = 0.06 gigatons of carbon So this would make humans about 0.01% of all biomass. If ...
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  • 294
5 votes

What is the best way to calculate the biological diversity of samples from bacterial/viral OTU tables?

I mostly concur with @Nathan's answer, and in particular with the references he provided. As Shannon & Simpson indices can ...
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  • 51
5 votes

Measuring tumor heterogeneity

The methods that come immediately to mind are mostly related to next-generation sequencing. You can do deep sequencing on your sample, which is just increasing the coverage as much as possible to find ...
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  • 14.7k
4 votes
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Based on this diagram, how do you deduce the keystone species?

From http://education.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia: A keystone species is a plant or animal that plays a unique and crucial role in the way an ecosystem functions. Without keystone ...
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4 votes
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Are there any photosynthetic catalysts in use other than chlorophyll?

There are photosynthetic organisms that use retinal-rhodopsin complex. However, the mechanism of photosynthesis is different in these organisms than those that employ chlorophyll dependent ...
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  • 35.1k
4 votes
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Forest Fires and Horsetails

I didn't believe this was a real thing, and I'm still very skeptical, but it is something that's claimed to happen! Their stems & leaves have a siliceous epidermis, so if rubbing b/n 2 ...
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4 votes

Beta-diversity for data with zeros

I would recommend using a Bray-Curtis dissimilarity matrix since it accounts for abundances and can handle the so called double zero problem. I'm on my commute now and so must return to this for a ...
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4 votes

How do I explain "effective number of types" to a lay audience?

For a lay audience, I don't think you need to explain too much of the math, just the general concept, and an example will work best. Let's think about trees. You have 5 types of trees in a forest. If ...
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3 votes

Why is there an apparent reduction of reptile species near the Mississippi River?

The reptiles mostly were ploughed away and replaced with soy beans. The low reptile diversity zone matches the Mississippi Alluvial Plain which includes the Mississippi Floodplain. The Mississipi ...
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3 votes

Database of Geographic Range of Species

The GBIF database that was suggested can give you locations of occurrences given a specific animal. But you asked for lists of animals given some location. An excellent tool to give a list of animals ...
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  • 425
3 votes

Can I compare Shannon-Wiener diversity indices between plots of different sizes (area)?

Theoretically the index for two habitats of different areas are not directly comparable. Consider the species area relationship. You see more species when you look over a larger area. So you will ...
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  • 425
3 votes

Does leaving land alone actually help nature conservation?

I'll give you an example, because this question is pretty case specific. In Delhi, my hometown, they kept areas of the forest, the 'Sanjay Van' free from construction and people and only very recently ...
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3 votes
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Measure of diversity, accounting for known species

Simpson's estimator, which assumes that sample frequencies are not population frequencies, is unbiased on the probability scale. As @fileunderwater noted, it can be helpful to quantify diversity in ...
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  • 233
3 votes
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Which plant's part is this?

This is a bit hard to say exactly, since there is a number of possibilities. We can be pretty sure that these sample is from a Cypress, belonging to the family of Cupressaceae, but which subfamily or ...
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3 votes

How many different species have existed on Earth?

From Raup (1986). Up to 4 billion species of plants and animals are estimated to have lived at some tlme m the geologic past (2), most of these in the last 600 million years (Phanerozoic time). ...
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3 votes

What are the negative consequences of a narrowed biodiversity to the planet?

From an ecological sense, cycles of living beings are intertwined. Breaking cycles affects life being able to live, reproduce, and die in a manageable way. Insects, animals, and plants help feed each ...
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3 votes
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What does genetic diversity in one species have to do with survival rate when an epidemic spreads?

Genetic diversity could be understood as a variation in alleles (gene variants) and their frequencies in a population. Due to these allelic variations, we would expect an inherent variability in ...
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2 votes
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Conservation Ex Situ

She was probably referring to ex-situ conservation as a way to complement in-situ conservation. Indeed, if a population is endangered and fragmentation it thought to be one of the main factors causing ...
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2 votes
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How important is dead wood to the ecology of a forest and how much dead wood should remain?

Dead wood is indeed very important to the food chain, and to the ecology and biodiversity of a forest. Lots of biota depend on the presence of dead wood; many species of insects and fungi only live on ...
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  • 3,647
2 votes

Explaining the simpson's diversity index

That's an estimator for Simpson index, $$ \sum_i p_i^2 $$ where $p_i$ is the probability that $i$-th species is sampled. This is sum of the probability that two independent samples are from the same ...
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  • 3,045
2 votes

How close genetically is the most human-like chimpanzee to the most chimp-like human?

I found at least one example of genes where the same genes and the same alleles exist in both humans and other primates but the frequencies of the different alleles are different in different primate ...
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  • 532
2 votes

What is the best way to calculate the biological diversity of samples from bacterial/viral OTU tables?

The vegan package is suitable for your needs, but you may find you need to use others or code your own functions. Due to sequencing biases, you shouldn't trust ...
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  • 166
2 votes

Bird diversity and the avian flu

Biodiversity is the opposite of monoculture, and we know that one possible consequence of monoculture is disease transmission -- bananas being the modern poster child for monoculture leading to ...
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