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 Biodiversity: Definition and Brainstorming time

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Mysterious_Calligrapher
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PostSubject: Biodiversity: Definition and Brainstorming time   Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:46 pm

We ran up against a small point over on the biomes: Biodiversity.
For those of you too lazy to google it,
Biodiversity:
1) diversity among and within plant and animal species in an environment.
2) the existence of a wide variety of plant and animal species in their natural environments, which is the aim of conservationists concerned about the indiscriminate destruction of rainforests and other habitats.

Also used to describe the number of niches in an environment, how specialized they are, etc. as well as the number of species represented.

The problem: Comparatively, the "criteria" we've been using for biodiversity in the biome thread doesn't mean squat in the game. What, exactly is "high" biodiversity? How much of this biodiversity can we represent in-game without melting our eager laptops into non-recyclable slush, or at the very least requiring a cooling pad and a new graphics card?

The purpose of this thread is a) to figure out what biodiversity means in the context of the game (Such as: how many niches can we program into a biome? Especially given our computing power?) and b) to set some quantitative and qualitative standards for it.

Have at it.
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PostSubject: Re: Biodiversity: Definition and Brainstorming time   Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:01 pm

Lowest biodiversity means one species per niche type max. As we go up on the scale, more species can occupy one niche type. (a niche type is a "niche" defined in the Biome description. More than onse species can have the same definition for their niche. For instance, you can have two tiny carnivores in an ecosystem.)
I'd say as biodiversity goes up, we build up number of species per niche from bottom trophic levels and upwards. This means to have two top predators, you'd have to have an extremely biodiverse environment.

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PostSubject: Re: Biodiversity: Definition and Brainstorming time   Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:23 pm

~sciocont wrote:
Lowest biodiversity means one species per niche type max. As we go up on the scale, more species can occupy one niche type. (a niche type is a "niche" defined in the Biome description. More than onse species can have the same definition for their niche. For instance, you can have two tiny carnivores in an ecosystem.)
I'd say as biodiversity goes up, we build up number of species per niche from bottom trophic levels and upwards. This means to have two top predators, you'd have to have an extremely biodiverse environment.
Wait a minuet... I don't remember Trophic Level being specifically specified in the Biome descriptions for niches...
*Checks*
Okay, so it's there but no one used it with specifics. Even you Scio... :s
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PostSubject: Re: Biodiversity: Definition and Brainstorming time   Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:41 pm

Tenebrarum wrote:
~sciocont wrote:
Lowest biodiversity means one species per niche type max. As we go up on the scale, more species can occupy one niche type. (a niche type is a "niche" defined in the Biome description. More than onse species can have the same definition for their niche. For instance, you can have two tiny carnivores in an ecosystem.)
I'd say as biodiversity goes up, we build up number of species per niche from bottom trophic levels and upwards. This means to have two top predators, you'd have to have an extremely biodiverse environment.
Wait a minuet... I don't remember Trophic Level being specifically specified in the Biome descriptions for niches...
*Checks*
Okay, so it's there but no one used it with specifics. Even you Scio... :s
Yeah, i hadn't quite figured out how it would be implemented, so i just didn't put it in. We can figure out the pyramids for each biome once we've finalized everything else about them.

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PostSubject: Re: Biodiversity: Definition and Brainstorming time   Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:50 pm

~sciocont wrote:
Tenebrarum wrote:
~sciocont wrote:
Lowest biodiversity means one species per niche type max. As we go up on the scale, more species can occupy one niche type. (a niche type is a "niche" defined in the Biome description. More than onse species can have the same definition for their niche. For instance, you can have two tiny carnivores in an ecosystem.)
I'd say as biodiversity goes up, we build up number of species per niche from bottom trophic levels and upwards. This means to have two top predators, you'd have to have an extremely biodiverse environment.
Wait a minuet... I don't remember Trophic Level being specifically specified in the Biome descriptions for niches...
*Checks*
Okay, so it's there but no one used it with specifics. Even you Scio... :s
Yeah, i hadn't quite figured out how it would be implemented, so i just didn't put it in. We can figure out the pyramids for each biome once we've finalized everything else about them.
You sure? Id doesn't look to be that much work to do. We could even judge based on top predators and nothing else for biodiversity.
Ex.:
Biodiversity: 2 Quatrenary(sp?) Consumers.
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PostSubject: Re: Biodiversity: Definition and Brainstorming time   Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:16 pm

Tenebrarum wrote:
~sciocont wrote:
Tenebrarum wrote:
~sciocont wrote:
Lowest biodiversity means one species per niche type max. As we go up on the scale, more species can occupy one niche type. (a niche type is a "niche" defined in the Biome description. More than onse species can have the same definition for their niche. For instance, you can have two tiny carnivores in an ecosystem.)
I'd say as biodiversity goes up, we build up number of species per niche from bottom trophic levels and upwards. This means to have two top predators, you'd have to have an extremely biodiverse environment.
Wait a minuet... I don't remember Trophic Level being specifically specified in the Biome descriptions for niches...
*Checks*
Okay, so it's there but no one used it with specifics. Even you Scio... :s
Yeah, i hadn't quite figured out how it would be implemented, so i just didn't put it in. We can figure out the pyramids for each biome once we've finalized everything else about them.
You sure? Id doesn't look to be that much work to do. We could even judge based on top predators and nothing else for biodiversity.
Ex.:
Biodiversity: 2 Quatrenary(sp?) Consumers.
No, a bottom up approach is better, because you can have more variation in levels as you go up.

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PostSubject: Re: Biodiversity: Definition and Brainstorming time   Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:20 pm

~sciocont wrote:
No, a bottom up approach is better, because you can have more variation in levels as you go up.
I suppose, but my point was the Top is a good place-holder for everything below since it's so dependant. It doesn't matter really, so long as we actually start quantifying biodiversity.

I think that in the end Trial and error might be best. Put in all values for the biome and simulate for a bit, get a few million years max and take a look at the results.
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PostSubject: Re: Biodiversity: Definition and Brainstorming time   Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:09 pm

Tenebrarum wrote:
~sciocont wrote:
No, a bottom up approach is better, because you can have more variation in levels as you go up.
I suppose, but my point was the Top is a good place-holder for everything below since it's so dependant. It doesn't matter really, so long as we actually start quantifying biodiversity.

I think that in the end Trial and error might be best. Put in all values for the biome and simulate for a bit, get a few million years max and take a look at the results.

Quatrenary consumers? I don't think it's a good idea to judge that far up, as you're probably only going to get one or two per ecosystem, regardless of how much is at the bottom, just because of the .1 reduction factor as you move up the food chain.
For example, Plant (Primary producer) = 1
primary consumer = .1
secondary consumer = .01
tertiary consumer = .001
Quatrenary consumer = .0001, a level at which it's getting pretty much ridiculous how much energy is being lost.
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PostSubject: Re: Biodiversity: Definition and Brainstorming time   Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:13 pm

Mysterious_Calligrapher wrote:
Tenebrarum wrote:
~sciocont wrote:
No, a bottom up approach is better, because you can have more variation in levels as you go up.
I suppose, but my point was the Top is a good place-holder for everything below since it's so dependant. It doesn't matter really, so long as we actually start quantifying biodiversity.

I think that in the end Trial and error might be best. Put in all values for the biome and simulate for a bit, get a few million years max and take a look at the results.

Quatrenary consumers? I don't think it's a good idea to judge that far up, as you're probably only going to get one or two per ecosystem, regardless of how much is at the bottom, just because of the .1 reduction factor as you move up the food chain.
For example, Plant (Primary producer) = 1
primary consumer = .1
secondary consumer = .01
tertiary consumer = .001
Quatrenary consumer = .0001, a level at which it's getting pretty much ridiculous how much energy is being lost.
You have to remember though, that's by mass, not # of species.

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PostSubject: Re: Biodiversity: Definition and Brainstorming time   Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:03 pm

No, that's by biomass and energy. The amount of biomass required to sustain a quatrenary consumer is
1,111 to one, because you have to take each step into account meaning that it's pretty darn impossible to actually have something that is only a quatrenary consumer. Tertiary is about as high as you actually get, though obviously not all food sources are laid out so neatly.
If a snake eats a mouse, then is eaten by an eagle, which is then eaten by a human this does not make humans quatrenary consumers. We eat far more beef (as a secondary consumer) and other meats of grain or grass-eating animals. Basically, nothing can survive solely as a quatrenary consumer - too much energy is lost.
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PostSubject: Re: Biodiversity: Definition and Brainstorming time   Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:25 pm

So any quaternary consumer must have links to secondary and tertiary? that seems good.

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PostSubject: Re: Biodiversity: Definition and Brainstorming time   Wed Feb 09, 2011 12:32 pm

Additionally, we're going to have to figure biodiversity by the presence/amount of consumers which occupy at least one tertiary slot in the food chain.
I may post a pic for visual learners if I ever bust out Gimp this week.
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