Species databases

Mr Fortuner connection modem fortuner at MATH.U-BORDEAUX.FR
Sun Mar 26 09:56:14 CST 1995

In case some of you haven't read "The Diversity of Life" by E.O. Wilson

( pages 132-133) number of known species (including all plants,
animals, and microorganisms) = 1.4 millions
number of species on earth = 10 to
100 millions [I suppose this depends whether you are a splitter or a

(page 318) complete survey of earth's biological diversity =
processing of 10 million species at 10 species per systematist per year = one
million person-years of work or, given 40 years of productive life per
scientists, 25,000 professional life-times.

I believe he also wrote in this
book (I cannot find the page) that the budget for such as survey would be "no
larger than the NASA budget at the time of the Moon project".

I guess we have
better start recruiting!

On the other hand, I completely agree with Karen
Wilson: we have to start somewhere. Species 2000 certainly is a step in the
right direction. Another step would be to extract all the character data from
the paper-published taxonomic descriptions of these 1.4 million species. I
believe it could be done in 10 years (darn, I would miss the deadline) by
about 20 unskilled operators (for scanning the descriptions) and about 40
biologists (but not necessarily

fortuner at math.u-bordeaux.fr

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