from the urls-we-dig-up dept
While some environmentalists complain about the rate at which known species are dying, the absolute amount of biodiversity on Earth is actually not well known. There could be 100 million different species, but we’ve only identified about 2 million so far. Here are just a few recent developments that could help expand our databases of living species.
- James Cameron has recently donated his custom-built submarine to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (a year after his record-setting dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench). Last year, Cameron observed about 68 specimens of life on the ocean floor, and future dives could possibly turn up more discoveries. [url]
- DNA characterization techniques promise to speed up the identification of new species. Ecogenomics will be used to survey biodiversity and could lead to finding hundreds of new species in a matter of months. [url]
- The Dead Sea looks devoid of life on the surface, but biologists since the 1930s have known that the salty body of water is teeming with microbes that thrive in water that is over 8 times saltier than the ocean. More recently, life has been discovered at the bottom of the Dead Sea, about 100 feet down, where mats of bacteria survive near freshwater springs. [url]
If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.