Navigation Links
At least one-third of marine species remain undescribed
Date:11/15/2012

At least one-third of the species that inhabit the world's oceans may remain completely unknown to science. That's despite the fact that more species have been described in the last decade than in any previous one, according to a report published online on November 15 in the Cell Press publication Current Biology that details the first comprehensive register of marine species of the worlda massive collaborative undertaking by hundreds of experts around the globe.

The researchers estimate that the ocean may be home to as many as one million species in alllikely not more. About 226,000 of those species have so far been described. There are another 65,000 species awaiting description in specimen collections.

"For the first time, we can provide a very detailed overview of species richness, partitioned among all major marine groups. It is the state of the art of what we knowand perhaps do not knowabout life in the ocean," says Ward Appeltans of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO.

The findings provide a reference point for conservation efforts and estimates of extinction rates, the researchers say. They expect that the vast majority of unknown speciescomposed disproportionately of smaller crustaceans, molluscs, worms, and spongeswill be found this century.

Earlier estimates of ocean diversity had relied on expert polls based on extrapolations from past rates of species descriptions and other measures. Those estimates varied widely, suffering because there was no global catalog of marine species.

Appeltans and colleagues including Mark Costello from the University of Auckland have now built such an inventory. The World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) is an open-access, online database (see http://www.marinespecies.org/) created by 270 experts representing 146 institutions and 32 countries. It is now 95% complete and is continually being updated as new species are discovered.

"Building this was not as simple as it should be, because there has not been any formal way to register species," Costello says.

A particular problem is the occurrence of multiple descriptions and names for the same speciesso called "synonyms," Costello says. For instance, each whale or dolphin has on average 14 different scientific names.

As those synonyms are discovered through careful examination of records and specimens, the researchers expect perhaps 40,000 "species" to be struck from the list. But such losses will probably be made up as DNA evidence reveals overlooked "cryptic" species.

While fewer species live in the ocean than on land, marine life represents much older evolutionary lineages that are fundamental to our understanding of life on Earth, Appeltans says. And, in some sense, WoRMS is only the start.

"This database provides an example of how other biologists could similarly collaborate to collectively produce an inventory of all life on Earth," Appeltans says.


'/>"/>
Contact: Lisa Lyons
elyons@cell.com
617-386-2121
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. To know a tiger is at least to start tolerating them, study shows
2. At least 200,000 tons of oil and gas from Deepwater Horizon spill consumed by gulf bacteria
3. Size does matter in sexual selection, at least among beetles
4. Scientists take objective look at terms least toxic pesticides applied as last resort
5. RTS,S malaria candidate vaccine reduces malaria by approximately one-third in African infants
6. Increase in Arctic shipping poses risk to marine mammals
7. Marine Protected Areas are keeping turtles safe
8. Size matters: Large Marine Protected Areas work for dolphins
9. New iPad, iPhone app helps mariners avoid endangered right whales
10. First mass extinction linked to marine anoxia
11. Marine scientists urge government to reassess oil spill response
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/2/2017)... 2017  EyeLock LLC, a market leader of iris-based ... " What You Should Know About Biometrics in the ... authenticity is a growing concern. In traditional schemes, cryptography ... traditional authentication schemes such as username/password suffer from inherent ... offers an elegant solution to the problem of high-security ...
(Date:2/1/2017)... IDTechEx Research, a leading provider of independent market research, business ... new report, Sensors for Robotics: Technologies, Markets and Forecasts 2017-2027 ... ... Revenues of ... for Robotics: Technologies, Markets and Forecasts 2017-2027: Machine vision, force sensing ...
(Date:1/30/2017)... --  Invitae Corporation (NYSE: NVTA ), ... announced that it will report its fourth quarter and ... Monday, February 13, 2017, and Invitae,s management team will ... Eastern / 1:45 p.m. Pacific. During ... results, guidance, and recent developments and will spend the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... portfolio to include an array of biochemical analyses critical for Lead Discovery. ... drive their hit-to-lead and SAR programs, including inhibitor potency and selectivity, mechanism of ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... Minn. , Feb. 23, 2017  Imanis ... new product line of oncolytic vaccinia viruses for ... Corporation as part of Genelux,s proprietary, vaccinia virus-based ... are excited to enter into a partnership with ... selected oncolytic vaccinia viruses for use in research," ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... The Greater Gift Initiative, Inc , ... Compass Research . GGI's mission is to advance global health and highlight the ... need in honor of each clinical trial volunteer. The vision of GGI is to ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... , Feb. 22, 2017  Aratana Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: PETX), ... commercialization of innovative biopharmaceutical products for companion animals, will host ... 8:30 a.m. ET to discuss financial results from the fourth ... Interested participants and investors may access the audio ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology: