Can We Name Earth's Species Before They Go Extinct?

  title={Can We Name Earth's Species Before They Go Extinct?},
  author={Mark John Costello and Robert M. May and Nigel E. Stork},
  pages={413 - 416}
Completing the Catalog Despite the widely held belief that the number of taxonomists is decreasing, there is evidence that increasing numbers of authors are describing species new to science. In parallel, several statistically sophisticated attempts have been made to better quantify the number of species that may exist on Earth, including the oceans. Estimates of recent extinction rates have also been re-examined to question whether we are in, or heading toward, an anthropogenic mass extinction… 
New approaches narrow global species estimates for beetles, insects, and terrestrial arthropods
Four new and independent estimates of beetle species richness are presented, which produce a mean estimate of 1.5 million beetle species, and it is argued that the surprisingly narrow range of these four autonomous estimates represents a major advance in honing in on the richness of this most significant taxon.
The discovery of historically extinct, but hitherto undescribed, species: an under-appreciated element in extinction-rate assessments
The case of overlooked species that have become extinct in historic times is exemplified by the paper of Richling and Bouchet in this issue of Biodiversity and Conservation, and the need for detailed taxonomic study as a foundation for biodiversity conservation is emphasized.
The Sixth Species Extinction Event by Humans
The number of species becoming extinct has drawn a significant deal of attention from scientists and non-scientists alike. This research reviews recent literature citing evidence for the impact
Estimating How Many Undescribed Species Have Gone Extinct
According to these estimates, the proportion of undiscovered extinct species over all extinctions ranged from 0.15 to 0.59, depending on the taxonomic group and the region considered, which means that recent extinctions may be up to twice as large as the number recorded.
Are insects and other invertebrates in decline in Australia?
  • M. Braby
  • Environmental Science
    Austral Entomology
  • 2019
There is a critical need for evidence on the extent of change of insect biodiversity, especially decline and extinction, in Australia, and the seminal review paper by Sánchez-Bayo and Wyckhuysb (2019) is most timely.
A robust nonparametric method for quantifying undetected extinctions
A new, nonparametric method that provides estimates of the proportion of species that have gone extinct, detected, or undetected and, in the special case where the number of undetected extant species in the present day is assumed close to zero, of the absolute number of unbeaten species.
Inordinate Fondness Multiplied and Redistributed: the Number of Species on Earth and the New Pie of Life
The estimates suggest that there are likely to be at least 1 to 6 billion species on Earth, and the new Pie of Life is dominated by bacteria (approximately 70–90% of species) and insects are only one of many hyperdiverse groups.
The description and number of undiscovered mammal species
A model is modified for the number of undescribed species using species description data and incorporating taxonomic information that more accurately estimates the total number of species and predicts that 5% of mammals remain undescribing.
Global biodiversity gain is concurrent with declining popula - tion sizes
By using extinction records for well-known animal groups plus surrogate data, it is shown there is no evidence for an unusually high rate of extinction, a mass extinction is not yet underway, and there are indications of a continued biodiversity gain.
A global biodiversity estimate of a poorly known taxon: phylum Tardigrada
It appears that tardigrades are both poorly studied and relatively species poor, as a new technique has recently been developed that uses the more complete knowledge of higher taxonomic levels to estimate the asymptotic number of species.


How Many Species Are There on Earth and in the Ocean?
It is shown that the higher taxonomic classification of species follows a consistent and predictable pattern from which the total number of species in a taxonomic group can be estimated, and when applied to all domains of life, it predicts ∼8.7 million eukaryotic species globally.
The Magnitude of Global Marine Species Diversity
Re-assessing current extinction rates
  • N. Stork
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Biodiversity and Conservation
  • 2009
There is a widespread belief that we are experiencing a mass extinction event similar in severity to previous mass extinction events in the last 600 million years where up to 95% of species
New Species in the Old World: Europe as a Frontier in Biodiversity Exploration, a Test Bed for 21st Century Taxonomy
It is shown that contrary to general belief, developed and heavily-studied parts of the world are important reservoirs of unknown species, and the importance of developing a system that better supports and guides this formidable workforce as they seek to overcome the Taxonomic Impediment and speed up the process of describing the planetary biodiversity before it is too late.
A Census of Marine Biodiversity Knowledge, Resources, and Future Challenges
A global review of gaps in marine biodiversity knowledge and resources is overdue because society and many scientists believe the authors have discovered most species, or that doing so is out of fashion except when new technologies are employed.
Predicting total global species richness using rates of species description and estimates of taxonomic effort.
It is considered that marine species comprise only 16% of all species on Earth although the oceans contain a greater phylogenetic diversity than occurs on land, and it is predicted that there may be 1.8-2.0 million species onEarth, significantly less than some previous estimates.
Predicting the number of known and unknown species in European seas using rates of description
There are about 36,000 species described from European seas, and it is predicted that 40,000 to 48,000 may exist, which comprises 15% of the estimated 230,000 described marine species.
When Life Nearly Died: The Greatest Mass Extinction of All Time
There have been five big mass extinctions in the history of the Earth. One 65 million years ago wiped out the dinosaurs, but the greatest of all happened around 251 million years ago, at the end of
How many species of flowering plants are there?
A model is applied that explicitly incorporates taxonomic effort over time to estimate the number of as-yet-unknown species, and asks taxonomic experts their opinions on how many species are likely to be missing, on a family-by-family basis.
Quantifying Uncertainty in Estimation of Tropical Arthropod Species Richness
Two models that account for parameter uncertainty by replacing point estimates with probability distributions are presented, suggesting that in spite of 250 years of taxonomy and around 855,000 species of arthropods already described, approximately 70% await description.