Presentation on theme: "Species Discovery. Diversity of Life Nobody actually knows! Estimates range between 3 and 100 million different species Latest prediction: = 8.7 million."— Presentation transcript:
Nobody actually knows! Estimates range between 3 and 100 million different species Latest prediction: = 8.7 million How many species on Earth? Mr Burns beaked toad (Rhinella sp. nov.) Discovered 2010
How many species have we discovered so far? 1.75 million species have been classified by scientists This means that over 80% still need to be described! Only around 12% of the total number of animals in the world have been described by scientists. Why? Caquetá titi monkey (Discovered 2008)
What is a newly discovered species? A species that is completely new to science. Reef manta ray Giant manta ray Long-nosed tree frog (Discovered 2011) A species previously described which is found to be a different species. OR
Why are newly discovered species important? Human well-being depends on biodiversity and healthy ecosystems. –Provide medicines, food and materials –Regulate climate, purify air and water –Pollination and nutrient cycling –Beauty of the natural world New species could mean discovering new services that are useful to humans in future. Knowledge of new species helps scientists fill in evolutionary gaps.
Naming a new species Scientists need to be certain the new species has not already been described, and that its characteristics are unique. Species are ordered into groups that share common features and a common ancestor i.e. they are related. This process of grouping species so that they may be classified and named is called taxonomy, and scientists who do this are called taxonomists.
Classifying species What is classification? –Organising living things into groups: Anatomy (how it looks) Genetics (the sequence of its genes) E.g. Horseshoe crab Anatomically it looks like a crab. Genetically it is more closely related to spiders!
Trying to describe and name each of the millions of species individually is too hard! Scientists group species based on shared characteristics. Carl Linnaeus – classification system for sorting species into groups First step – put species into one of the 5 kingdoms: –Protoctists; Prokaryotes; Fungi; Plants and Animals Classifying species
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus Species Kingdom Phylum Class Phylum Class Order Etc. Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) Fiji crested iguana (Brachylophus vitiensis) Fiji banded iguana (Brachylophus fasciatus) Kingdom: Animals Phylum: Chordata Genus: Brachylophus Genus: Giraffa
Class Activity 1 Identifying newly discovered amphibians You are a scientist that has discovered 9 new amphibians. Now you just need to work out which species they are! Look at the photographs and use the classification key to help you find out the species names. Write the names of each species underneath the photograph on your worksheet.
Class Activity 2 Make your own classification key You have been given pictures of 6 newly discovered species. Look closely at each species and identify their key features – what makes them different from the other species in your pictures? Construct your own dichotomous key that would allow another person to be able to identify each species.
Discovering a new species Most undiscovered species are likely to be small and obscure. However, we are also still finding big species, e.g. mammals, birds & amphibians. New species are discovered in the field and in collections, e.g. museum specimens. Goodmans mouse lemur (Discovered 2006)
Pitfall trap UV light trap Camera trap Finding new species in the field
Where to Look? It is impossible to look everywhere due to time and money constraints. Scientists have to choose areas where the probability of finding new species is higher. These are generally poorly explored tropical areas, but rich in biodiversity.
Case Studies In 2010, Conservation International launched an expedition to search for amphibian species that have not been seen in over 10 years. 126 scientific researchers in 21 countries, across 5 continents. A number of species, some not seen in 20 years, were rediscovered. As well as rediscovering species presumed extinct, the scientists found a number of potentially new species, for example the beaked toad (Rhinella sp. nov.) Beaked toad (Rhinella sp. nov.)
Case Studies Mount Mabu, Mozambique Unexplored & Biodiversity rich 3 new butterfly species New viper snake species Potential new insect species New species of pygmy chameleon (Rhampholeon sp.)
Case Studies New species of giant rat discovered in rainforest of New Guinea (Mallomys sp.)
Newly discovered species on ARKive Psychedelic frog fish (Histiophryne psychedelica) Pitcher plant (Nepenthes holdenii) Leaf chameleon (Brookesia micra) Kipunji (Rungwecebus kipunji)
Design your own expedition You are a scientist, planning an expedition which aims to discover exciting species that are completely new to science. As you will be travelling to a country which is one of the remotest and least explored places on earth, you need to secure enough funding to cover most of the major costs of the expedition. Your task is to write an expedition proposal to present to grant-giving organisations. Youll need to use all your powers of persuasion to convince funding committees that your project is important and deserves their help, so make sure you make you follow the proposal guidelines carefully. Having a detailed, thoroughly researched and well-planned proposal could mean the difference between being able to go on your expedition or not! Read the project briefing notes you have been given carefully!