[Taxacom] Diversity of bacteria

David Patterson dpatterson at mbl.edu
Tue Feb 7 12:22:30 CST 2012

The number of 'named' entities is a very small proportion of the diversity
out there. High throughput techniques are now revealing spectacular levels
of diversity of entities that have yet to be named.  That will also provide
an incomplete inventory.

Roesch et al  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2970868/   tell
us that "Estimates of the number of species of bacteria per gram of soil
vary between 2000 and 8.3 million"

The Huse et al (2008) paper is a very accessible hyperview

Both are dated, and allowing for the difficulties of deciding what
constitutes a species is more difficult in the eubacterial and
archaebacterial worlds, I think we can safely say that the number of
discriminable entities exceeds 0.5 million.

David Patterson

On Tue, Feb 7, 2012 at 1:08 PM, Kenneth Kinman <kennethkinman at webtv.net>wrote:

> Hi Brian,
>        I won't even try to give estimates for the number of undescribed
> species (I have read that some estimate that only about 1% have been
> described, but that is just a guess, so who knows).
>       Numbers for described species are easier to come by.  However, it
> should be noted that the numbers below do not include species of
> cyanobacteria).  According to the LPSN (List of Prokaryotic names with
> Standing in Nomenclature), there were 1,792 species in the original
> Approved List of Bacterial Names (1980), and that another 9,351 species
> have been validly published since.  That gives a total of 11,143
> species.
>       But one would need to subtract from that total:  31 which are
> homotypic synonyms, about 292 are regarded as heterotypic synonyms, 13
> are nomina nova, 1260 are new combinations, and 67 have subsequently
> been deemed illegitimate.  If I did my math correctly, that leaves a
> total of 9,480 species.
>      However, as I noted above, this does not include cyanobacteria,
> and how many species of cyanobacteria there are is very controversial
> (between the splitters and lumpers).  And it also does not include
> published "candidatus" species.   And the 67 illegitimate species are
> probably mostly good species that simply need to be made Code compliant.
>       So I think about 9,600 species would be about right for
> archaebacteria plus most eubacteria.  However, one would need to add to
> that figure some arbitrary number for species of cyanobacteria (the
> numbers of which vary widely between lumpers and splitters).
>             --------Ken Kinman
> --------------------------------------------------------
> Hello!
> Does anyone know the latest estimate on the number of described species
> of bacteria?  How about prokaryotes as a whole?  Are there any estimates
> for the number of undescribed species of prokaryotes?
> Thanks for your time!
> Best regards, Brian
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> L. Brian Patrick, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor of Biology and Chair
> Department of Biological Sciences
> Dakota Wesleyan University
> 1200 W. University Ave.
> Mitchell, SD  57301
> _______________________________________________
> Taxacom Mailing List
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
> The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with either of
> these methods:
> (1) by visiting http://taxacom.markmail.org
> (2) a Google search specified as:  site:
> mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom  your search terms here

David J Patterson

Senior Scientist, Marine Biological Laboratory
Life Sciences Lead, Data Conservancy

7 MBL Street, Woods Hole, MASS 02543, USA.

More information about the Taxacom mailing list