By Karina Toledo
Agência FAPESP – Although human knowledge of the planet’s biodiversity is still quite fragmented, an estimated 1,750,000 different living species have been described, including microorganisms, plants and animals. This may be an impressive number for the uninformed, but the most optimistic hypotheses say this number represents a mere 30% of the life on Earth.
“It is estimated that there are still another 12 million species awaiting discovery,” said Thomas Lewinsohn, professor in the Animal Biology Department at the Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp) during the presentation that kicked off the 2013 Conference Series organized by the BIOTA-FAPESP program, aimed at improving scientific education.
However, how can the extent of our lack of knowledge on biodiversity be evaluated? “To accomplish this, we extrapolate based on the most-studied groups of organisms to evaluate the least-studied. Regions or nations where the biota is well known guide evaluation of the less well-known places. We arrive at these estimates via the Rule of Three,” he explained. …….. >>Continue Reading<<