Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life. This can refer to genetic variation, species variation, or ecosystem variation within an area, biome, or planet. Terrestrial biodiversity tends to be highest near the equator, which seems to be the result of the warm climate and high primary productivity. Marine biodiversity tends to be highest along coasts in the Western Pacific, where sea surface temperature is highest and in mid-latitudinal band in all oceans. Biodiversity generally tends to cluster in hotspots, and has been increasing through time but will be likely to slow in the future.
Rapid environmental changes typically cause mass extinctions. One estimate is that less than 1\%--3\% of the species that have existed on Earth are extant.
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