[Taxacom] Species Numbers

bti at dsmz.de bti at dsmz.de
Thu Sep 18 01:21:39 CDT 2008


Dear Arthur,
Indeed, as you say "a starting point for discussion". There are  
certainly publications that underline the vast numbers of "spotted,  
but not fully documented taxa" and perhaps I can dig some out. Like  
all parts of the World there has been no systematic survey of the  
microbial diversity.

Viral diversity (including what we would call phages) is also an  
almost untouched area.

Perhaps I could also persuade you to drop the term Monera. The term  
probably hasn't been used scientsist working with the organisms  
variously termed prokaryotes, Bacteria and Archaea for at least 3-4  
decades.

The issue of prokaryote diversity is further clouded by the fact that  
while one has concentrated on free living organisms, the importance of  
various forms of symbioses is becoming increasingly apparent, with  
various degrees of interaction being documented varying from "loose  
associations" right the way through to obligate interactions, such a  
mitochondria and chloroplasts. Where does one draw the line with  
reagrds where to stop naming these "organisms vs organelles"?

Brian


Quoting Arthur Chapman <taxacom3 at achapman.org>:

> Dear Brian
>
> Indeed - a problem!  As you can see from my publication, in many  
> places I cite "unknown" for many of the prokaryotes and others lower  
> organisms.  Wherever possible though, we have cited whatever  
> published estimates there are.  Sometimes, we are only able to  
> provide a range.
>
> For example, if you look at the viruses (page 45) - we have stated  
> that "The main problem in estimating the number of species of  
> viruses is knowing just what constitutes a species in the group" -  
> and indeed we have had many discussions on what is a species on  
> Taxacom over the years.  You will also see that for the viruses I  
> have found some estimated numbers for the World, but not for  
> Australia.  Indeed a problem, but for a publication such as this, it  
> is only possible to cite what people have published, or are prepared  
> to give me, and any number is at least a starting point for  
> discussion.
>
> For the Bacteria (Monera), excluding Cyanobacteria estimates for the  
> world vary from 50,000 to over 3 million, and for Australia with  
> only around 40 described species, the estimate is that this may only  
> be 0.1% of the total number of species.
>
> As you mention - the prokaryotes are indeed a problem.
>
> The publication cites both described and estimated for all groups  
> where I have been able to find any information.  If you go through  
> the publication and are able to put any figures for any of those  
> groups it would be appreciated. As much as providing information on  
> what we do know, and what we think we may know, I think such a  
> publication gives a strong indication of just how much we do not know.
>
> I appreciate your input.
>
> Arthur
>
> bti at dsmz.de wrote:
>> Dear Arthur,
>> the problem with such a report is that it probably centres on the   
>> number of "species that have been named". In the case of  
>> prokaryotes  the list I saw last gave the impression that Australia  
>> was virtually  void of prokaryotes. The clause under prokaryotes is  
>> that although  about 10,000 names have been registered (with  
>> emphasis on  registration) under our Code the actually number of  
>> taxa to be  discivered and characterised properly is probably  
>> comparable with the  number of botanical and zoological taxa  
>> combined. The published data  clearly supports this hypothesis. We  
>> humans are a walking ecosystem,  providing a home for anywhere  
>> between 800-1,000 species (a good number  of which are essential to  
>> our survival). The lowest level of all  ecosystems are microscopic  
>> organsims, which we tend to ignore in our  "calculations".
>> Brian
>>
>> Quoting Arthur Chapman <taxacom3 at achapman.org>:
>>
>>
>>> Some years ago I published a report on the "Numbers of Living Species in
>>> Australia and the World" for the Australian Government.  The publication
>>> can be found at
>>> http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/abrs/publications/other/species-numbers/index.html.
>>> This document was largely a synthesis of published information, and
>>> information supplied to me by researchers around the world and I thank
>>> all those who supplied me with information at the time.
>>>
>>> The Australian Government now wishes for the document to be updated.
>>>
>>> If anyone has any comments on the document, references to relevant
>>> papers, or any other information, I would be most grateful to receive it.
>>>
>>> I would like to split up some groups more if possible -- for example
>>> the insects to order level if information on the numbers in each order
>>> is available.
>>>
>>> All comments and references will be fully acknowledged.
>>>
>>> Please send any information to species_numbers<<you know what to put
>>> here>>achapman.org
>>>
>>> Arthur D. Chapman
>>> Australian Biodiversity Services
>>> Toowoomba, Australia
>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Taxacom mailing list
>>> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>>> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
>>>
>>>
>>
>>
>>
>> Dr.B.J.Tindall
>> DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikro-
>> organismen und Zellkulturen GmbH
>> Inhoffenstra=DFe 7B
>> 38124 Braunschweig
>> Germany
>> Tel. ++49 531-2616-224
>> Fax  ++49 531-2616-418
>> http://www.dsmz.de
>> Director: Prof. Dr. Erko Stackebrandt
>> Local court: Braunschweig HRB 2570
>> Chairman of the management board: MR Dr. Axel Kollatschny
>>
>> DSMZ - A member of the Leibniz Association (WGL)
>>
>>
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>>
>>
>



Dr.B.J.Tindall
DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikro-
organismen und Zellkulturen GmbH
Inhoffenstra=DFe 7B
38124 Braunschweig
Germany
Tel. ++49 531-2616-224
Fax  ++49 531-2616-418
http://www.dsmz.de
Director: Prof. Dr. Erko Stackebrandt
Local court: Braunschweig HRB 2570
Chairman of the management board: MR Dr. Axel Kollatschny

DSMZ - A member of the Leibniz Association (WGL)





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