[Taxacom] Species Numbers

Arthur Chapman taxacom3 at achapman.org
Thu Sep 18 01:32:46 CDT 2008


Thanks Brian

We did discuss whether we should include these groups or not in the 
original publication because of the dearth of information, but in the 
end we decided to bite the bullet.  Anything you could supply me would 
be great, and I will take your suggestion re Monera on board.

Cheers

Arthur

bti at dsmz.de wrote:
> 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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