90% of species yet to be discovered

Scientists have announced that there are approximately 8 million species on earth, of which 6.5 million have been found on land and 2.2 million dwell in the ocean depths. However, almost 85-90% of them are yet to be discovered.

india Updated: Aug 24, 2011 14:33 IST

Scientists at the Census of Marine Life have announced that there are approximately eight million, seven hundred thousand species on the earth with 6.5 million species found on land and 2.2 million dwelling in the ocean depths.

The figure resulting from the most precise calculation ever is based on an innovative, validated analytical technique that dramatically narrows the range of previous estimates.

Until now, the number of species on Earth was said to fall somewhere between 3 million and 100 million.

Furthermore, the study says a staggering 86percent of all species on land and 91percent of those in the seas have yet to be discovered, described and catalogued.

“The question of how many species exist has intrigued scientists for centuries and the answer, coupled with research by others into species’ distribution and abundance, is particularly important now because a host of human activities and influences are accelerating the rate of extinctions,” said lead author Camilo Mora of the University of Hawaii and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada.

“Many species may vanish before we even know of their existence, of their unique niche and function in ecosystems, and of their potential contribution to improved human well-being,” he stated.

Co-author Boris Worm of Dalhousie University added, “This work deduces the most basic number needed to describe our living biosphere.”

The findings were published by PLoS Biology.

First Published: Aug 24, 2011 14:19 IST