Simpson’s Biodiversity Index

High School Standards targeted:


BIG IDEA : Interdependence


The distribution and abundance of organisms is determined by the interactions between organisms, and between organisms and the non-living environment.


Energy and nutrients move within and between biotic and abiotic components of ecosystems via physical, chemical and biological processes.


Human activities and natural events can have profound effects on populations, biodiversity, and ecosystem processes.

Set Up: (20 mins) Present the powerpoint presentation.

Introduction:  The Simpson’s Biodiversity Index is a common way to measure biodiversity in an area.  It runs on a scale between 0 and 1.  Zero biodiversity means there is no biodiversity.  

Activity:  (30 minutes)  The class will be taken to an area with a lot of plant matter around the school.  This could be a field, garden, or grassy lawn. They will find a one ft. by one ft. area and will use the data sheet to describe each species they find and count the number of each specie.  When they are finished they will add these numbers to find the total plants found.  They will use this information to calculate the Simpson’s Biodiversity Index.

Review :

  1. What does N represent?
  2. What does n represent?
  3. What scale does the Simpson’s Biodiversity Index use?
  4. Which has greater biodiversity, 0.22 or 0.78?