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:3/22/2017)... Lithuania , March 21, 2017   ... and object recognition technologies, today announced the release ... kit (SDK), which provides improved facial recognition using ... cameras on a single computer. The new version ... to improve accuracy, and it utilizes a Graphing ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 21, 2017 Vigilant Solutions ... serving law enforcement agencies, announced today the appointment of ... director of public safety business development. Mr. ... enforcement experience, including a focus on the aviation transportation ... most recent position, Mr. Sheridan served as the Aviation ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... Pa. , March 20, 2017 PMD ... 2.0 personal spirometer and Wellness Management System (WMS), a ... Founded in 2010, PMD Healthcare is a Medical ... with a mission dedicated to creating innovative solutions that ... life. With that intent focus, PMD developed the first ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 21, 2017 , ... Beaker, the industry’s pioneer in ... life sciences industry, today announces a strategic partnership with Alcami Corporation, a leading ... of Beaker’s expertise in executive recruitment solutions, providing Alcami with access to the ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 21, 2017 , ... Building on the success of ... more informative on the very latest developments in radical life extension. RAADfest combines cutting ... festival, and the empowerment of personal development, making it the largest most comprehensive and ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 22, 2017 , ... ... in designating infertility as a disease, bringing new hope for prospective parents who ... 2017 annual meeting to back the World Health Organization’s designation in hopes of ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 22, 2017 , ... Tunnell Consulting’s ... biopharma and life sciences industries, continue to be in demand for their insights ... will be speaking on “The State of Information Governance in the Biopharmaceutical Industry” ...
Breaking Biology Technology: