Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. Earth Science News .




WATER WORLD
At least one-third of marine species remain undescribed
by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX) Nov 22, 2012


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.

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 in the Cell Press publication Current Biology that details the first comprehensive register of marine species of the world-a 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 all-likely 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 know-and perhaps do not know-about 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 species-composed disproportionately of smaller crustaceans, molluscs, worms, and sponges-will 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 species-so 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.

Appeltans et al.: "The Magnitude of Global Marine Species Diversity"

.


Related Links
Cell Press
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





WATER WORLD
Pacific fishing zones - lifeline for overfished tuna?
Honolulu HI (SPX) Nov 18, 2012
Marine zoning in the Pacific Ocean, in combination with other measures, could significantly improve numbers of heavily overfished bigeye tuna and improve local economies, a fish modelling study has found. Scientists working at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (Honolulu, HI), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC, Noumea, New Caledonia) and Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS, To ... read more


WATER WORLD
Haitian president talks quake relief with Pope Benedict XVI

Storm gives New Yorkers new family - each other

Victims of Hurricane Sandy forgotten in Haiti

European reconstruction bank admits Kosovo

WATER WORLD
Thermogenerator from the Printer

University of Glasgow and Clyde Space set to put brakes on space junk problem

Study reveals clues to cause of hydrogen embrittlement in metals

Smartphones crushing point-and-shoot camera market

WATER WORLD
Australia approves plan to save vital river system

At least one-third of marine species remain undescribed

EU finally ends shark finning

El Nino unlikely to hit by year-end: UN weather agency

WATER WORLD
Scientists say new signs of global warming in Russian Arctic

Warming Temperatures Will Change Greenland's Face

New dating of sea-level records reveals rapid response between ice volume and polar temperature

Melting Glaciers Raise Sea Level

WATER WORLD
Flower power to purge poison and produce platinum

Afghanistan: Bad weather foils poppy crops

Brazil native people say farmers poisoned stream

Thanksgiving turkeys in genetic study

WATER WORLD
More eruptions tipped as N. Zealand volcano disrupts flights

Rain-battered Britain braces for floods

'Lord of the Rings' volcano erupts in New Zealand

At least six major earthquakes on the Alhama de Murcia fault in the last 300,000 years

WATER WORLD
DR Congo president sacks chief of land forces

DRC: M23 gains spark fears of wider war

Sudan army confirms it attacked near S. Sudan border

Nigeria to send 600 troops to Mali: defence minister

WATER WORLD
A 3-D light switch for the brain

Scientists improve dating of early human settlement

Oldest home in Scotland unearthed

Archaeologists identify spear tips used in hunting a half-million years ago




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement