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Posted by on Nov 16, 2012 in Science |

Two thirds of marine species have not yet been discovered

Two thirds of marine species have not yet been discovered

One of the news often surprised me most is announcing the discovery of a new animal and I do not mean finding the remains of a dinosaur but the discovery of new species of life that, until now, had not been cataloged. And although it may seem that in the XXI century, have been discovered almost all species that inhabit our planet, according to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO our seas and oceans hide many mysteries yet to be discovered since, about two-thirds of existing marine species have not yet been cataloged.

According to the results reported by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, between 700,000 and one million species inhabit our seas and oceans and, of this amount, the human being has cataloged only a third of them (so two thirds are undiscovered and thus described). Although the figure might give us something of vertigo, especially as we do not know, this recalculation is correcting the prevailing hypothesis that estimated 10 million existing marine species (and which further reduced the spectrum of known species).

It is clear that we will not save the world with this result but at least we will begin to know him better

What utility can have these estimates? What can change things? For marine biologists figure is important because it is narrow “the challenge facing”, ie make the job of cataloging in something realizable since, annually, half are being cataloged 2,000 new marine species:

It may not be a mission impossible to catalog all marine species. We characterize some 2,000 species a year and if we can keep this up, we could get to know exactly what living beings on our planet

Traditionally, these estimates were based on extrapolations of the number of species found and their proportion to the number of species that appeared in a particular sample, a method that threw numbers as 300,000 species as diverse as 10 million. With the idea of seeking a common approach, a team of 120 international experts met to develop a new statistical model based on the number of listed species per year, and eliminating known species, for example, species that are listed as new improperly, since they had been previously cataloged.

In view of these data, 66% of the work of identifying the species that live in our seas is still to be done and, it seems, there are a number of species of molluscs, crustaceans and even species of whales and dolphins have not yet been characterized by biologists.

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