Tuesday, 11 December 2012

From Clawed Spiders to Deep-Sea Sharks: 137 New Species Described by California Academy of Sciences in 2012


Dec. 6, 2012 — In 2012, researchers at the California Academy of Sciences added 137 new relatives to our family tree, enriching our understanding of the complex web of life on Earth and strengthening our ability to make informed conservation decisions. The new species include 83 arthropods, 41 fishes, seven plants, four sea slugs, one reptile, and one amphibian. They were described by more than a dozen Academy scientists along with several dozen international collaborators.

Proving that there are still plenty of places to explore and things to discover on Earth, the scientists made their finds over four continents and two oceans, ventured into remote caves and descended to the bottom of the sea, looked in their owns backyards (California) and on the other side of the world (China). Their results, published in 29 different scientific papers, help advance the Academy's research into two of the most important scientific questions of our time: "How did life evolve?"and "How will it persist?"

"The ongoing discovery of new species is an important function of systematics-based institutions like the California Academy of Sciences," said Dr. Terry Gosliner, Dean of Science and Research Collections at the Academy. "During these times, when we are facing the planet's sixth mass extinction, species may be disappearing before we have a chance to find and describe them. How can we know what to protect, if we don't know that it exists in the first place?"

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