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Top Ten New Species of 2011

(Some fruiting bodies of Mycena luxaeterna growing on a rotten branch. © Cassius V. Stevani/IQ-USP, Brazil)

(Some fruiting bodies of Mycena luxaeterna growing on a rotten branch. © Cassius V. Stevani/IQ-USP, Brazil) Embedded from:

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!

TimeTree – Common ancestor calculator

This is a lot of fun. Plug in two species or taxa and TimeTree will give you our best estimate of when they last shared a common ancestor. Drawing on a multitude of sources, you can look through the database and use TimeTree as a launching pad for further research.

Here are some sample results:

Fun suggestion – play the ‘higher or lower‘ game with pairs of taxa.


Here’s the presentation for the Classification topic:

Follow the links in the images to learn more.

There’s a good wiki article on Classification here.

Here are some decent links to free organism identification resources:

Rapid Color Guides do loads of pdf files on tropical plants, lichens and animals.

The Mekong River has been extensively catalogued in terms of invertebrate life.

Riverwatch has a more user-friendly identification guide, that goes to Order level.

And a couple of rocky shore guides can be found here and here.

You can even carry out a virtual rocky shore transect from the British Ecological Society.

And there are a load of awesome resources at the UCLA OceanGlobe Student Resources site.

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