Document Detail

Can we name Earth's species before they go extinct?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23349283     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Some people despair that most species will go extinct before they are discovered. However, such worries result from overestimates of how many species may exist, beliefs that the expertise to describe species is decreasing, and alarmist estimates of extinction rates. We argue that the number of species on Earth today is 5 ± 3 million, of which 1.5 million are named. New databases show that there are more taxonomists describing species than ever before, and their number is increasing faster than the rate of species description. Conservation efforts and species survival in secondary habitats are at least delaying extinctions. Extinction rates are, however, poorly quantified, ranging from 0.01 to 1% (at most 5%) per decade. We propose practical actions to improve taxonomic productivity and associated understanding and conservation of biodiversity.
Mark J Costello; Robert M May; Nigel E Stork
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Science (New York, N.Y.)     Volume:  339     ISSN:  1095-9203     ISO Abbreviation:  Science     Publication Date:  2013 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-01-25     Completed Date:  2013-02-07     Revised Date:  2013-07-22    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0404511     Medline TA:  Science     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  413-6     Citation Subset:  IM    
Leigh Marine Laboratory, University of Auckland, Post Office Box 349, Warkworth, New Zealand.
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MeSH Terms
Conservation of Natural Resources
Databases, Factual
Endangered Species
Extinction, Biological*
Terminology as Topic*
Comment In:
Science. 2013 Jul 19;341(6143):237   [PMID:  23869005 ]
Science. 2013 Jul 19;341(6143):237   [PMID:  23869006 ]
Science. 2013 Mar 15;339(6125):1275   [PMID:  23493697 ]

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