Would All Species Please Stand Up and Be Counted?
Posted by Richard Conniff on January 12, 2013
Estimates of how many species live on Earth generally range from 10 to 100 million. But it’s basically guesswork, and the estimates do not count bacteria and viruses. Here’s a story file about recent attempts to census plant and animal species a little more accurately:
Bugs Reveal the Richness of Species On Earth (Jan. 11, 2013) — Researchers have carried out a survey of the biological diversity in a tropical rainforest. Their efforts have helped them find the key to one of the existential questions to which people have long … > read more
January 3, 2013 — Biologists have unlocked the “black box” to the underground world home to billions of microscopic creatures. That first peek inside may well explain how the number of species in an ecosystem changes … > full story
For Every Species of Mammal, 300 Arthropod Species Lurk in Rainforest (Dec. 13, 2012) — During 2003-2004 scientists sampled the rainforest canopy from canopy cranes, inflatable platforms, balloons, climbing ropes and along the forest floor to collect a total of 130,000 … > read moreDecember 30, 2012 — How can a square meter of meadow contain tens of species of plants? And what factors determine the number of species that live in an ecosystem? This has been selected as one of the 25 most important … > full story
Who Are We Sharing the Planet With? Millions Less Species Than Previously Thought, New Calculations Suggest (June 2, 2010)— New calculations reveal that the number of species on Earth is likely to be in the order of several million rather than tens of millions. The findings, from an Australian-led study, are based on a … > read more