This bioluminescent mushroom is just one of the top ten new species discovered in 2010 and shortlisted by the Arizona State University International Institute for Species Exploration. The list also includes a bacterium which was discovered feeding on the iron oxide of the hull of the Titanic. Visit their site to find out more about taxonomy and species discovery in action, as well as how their nominated ‘new species’ made the top ten.
Remember however, that event though new species are discovered all the time (15,000 a year!), we are in the midst of a global extinction crisis. What use is discovery without the will to take affirmative action to protect our planet’s biodiversity?
Perhaps you too could follow a career in biological exploration!
Interesting news today from the Guardian: “Scientists prune list of world’s plants“. 600,000 species of flowering plants have been deleted from the records in an impressive piece of international cooperation.
And no, that’s not because 600,000 have gone extinct (although so many are rapidly disappearing)- it’s because so many were duplicates with different names. By sorting out the list, botanists hope to make it easier for ecologists to keep track of genuinely newly discovered species, as well as more effectively monitor species over time.
This is a nice link to the Classification unit, and highlights the importance of international cooperation in the sciences. It was part of an effort for the Convention of Biological Diversity, which meet this October in Japan. It also links to the Ecology and Conservation option.
Here is a short interview with Dr Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, discussing why all of the member countries have failed to reach their targets, and why it is important to engage all stakeholders in the process of conservation:
A huge and ambitious project to create an online species database. Here is their ‘about us’ blurb:
The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) is an ambitious, even audacious project to organize and make available via the Internet virtually all information about life present on Earth. At its heart lies a series of Web sites—one for each of the approximately 1.8 million known species—that provide the entry points to this vast array of knowledge. The entry-point for each site is a species page suitable for the general public, but with several linked pages aimed at more specialized users. The sites sparkle with text and images that are enticing to everyone, as well as providing deep links to specific data.
Try the example page for Cafetaria roenbergensis here.