Posted by Richard Conniff on March 7, 2017
Swims like a drunken sailor. (© David Hall/seaphotos.com)
I was a guest this afternoon on “The Leonard Lopate Show” on WNYC in New York, talking about species discovery. The interview runs about 13 minutes and listening to it is definitely better than a sharp stick in the eye. (A courageous listener called in to tell one of the other guests that he didn’t like the sound of her voice. Thank goodness, I didn’t have a call-in segment.)
At one point, I talked about a favorite new species from 2009 named psychedelica. Here’s the background, from my previous post on the discovery:
Once again, science makes my day. Researchers have discovered a wonderful new fish in shallow water off the Indonesian island of Ambon, much visited by great naturalists of the past including Alfred Russel Wallace. And this one just makes you want to keep looking and looking, even in the same places everybody else has looked before, because Mother Nature is such a relentless joker.
University of Washington scientist Ted Pietsch has dubbed the discovery Histiophryne psychedelica because, well, just look at that face. Or consider its swimming behavior, which also suggests that it has been dabbling in mind-altering drugs. It doesn’t so much
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Posted in Conservation and Extinction, New Species Discoveries, Species Seekers Almanac, Uncategorized | Tagged: Conservation International, new species, species discovery, Suriname | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Richard Conniff on October 31, 2014
Here’s a story I’d like not to have to add to the Wall of the Dead. Please take a look, and pass on any information you may have. It’s from the BBC:
Posters have been distributed around the town of Sapa
The father of a botanist from Argyll who went missing in Vietnam a year ago has asked anyone with any information to come forward.
Jamie Taggart, from the Linn Botanic Gardens at Cove on the Rosneath peninsula, was on a plant hunting expedition near the border with China.
Dr Jim Taggart said it would take “very freak circumstances” for his son to be found alive.
But he said “someone, somewhere must
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Posted in Species Seekers Almanac | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Richard Conniff on August 24, 2011
Red throated barbet
For centuries scientists have pondered a central question: How many species exist on earth? Now, a group of researchers has offered an answer: 8.7 million. This article by Oxford University researcher Robert May explains why it matters.
And this report from Juliet Eilperin at the Washington Post explains the new study:
Although the number is still an estimate, it represents the most rigorous mathematical analysis yet of what we know – and do not know – about life on land and in the sea. The authors of the paper, published last evening by the scientific journal PLoS Biology, suggest 86 percent of all terrestrial species and 91 percent of all marine species have yet to be discovered, described, and catalogued.
The new analysis is significant not only because it gives more detail on a fundamental scientific mystery, but because it helps capture the complexity of a natural system that is in danger of losing species at an unprecedented rate.
“If you think of the planet as a life support system for our species, you want to look at how complex that life support system is,’’ Worm said. “We’re tinkering with that machine because we’re throwing out parts all the time.’’ Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Biodiversity, Conservation and Extinction, Evolution, Species Classification, Species Seekers Almanac | Leave a Comment »