Global Biodiversity: Status of the Earth’s Living Resources by Richard Thomas (auth.), Brian Groombridge (eds.)

By Richard Thomas (auth.), Brian Groombridge (eds.)

Global Biodiversity is the main finished compendium of conservation info ever released. It presents the 1st systematic record at the prestige, distribution, administration, and utilisation of the planet's organic wealth.

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1. Biological Diversity created (for one of the latest rounds of discussion, see Hawksworth, 1991). application of names to its constituent algal or fungal elements. At a more fundamental level, there are subtle but important differences between the botanical and zoological codes regarding availability and the significance of types. Changes in the botanical code, and appeals against the strict application of its provisions, must be directed to the Nomenclature Section of an International Botanical Congress, for decision in plenary session.

The most basal groups of land plants are the liverworts and hornworts, and then the mosses. The next level of organisation is represented by the tracheopytes (characterised by the possession of vascular tissue), including lycopods, horsetails and ferns. Beyond this level are the seed plants (spermatophytes), including cycads, Ginkgo, conifers, a group comprised of Ephedra, Gnetum and Welwitschia, and finally the flowering plants (angiosperms). The angiosperms are a vast and complex assemblage, traditionally divided into the monocotyledons (probably monophyletic) and the dicotyledons (paraphyletic).

Current rates of growth Current rates of description of new species and other taxa and how these rates vary from group to group can tell us a good deal about how the task of inventorying biotic diversity is proceeding. Whether or not rates of description have any value for predicting just how much of the task remains to be done is another matter, considered below. 5. 3 Numbers of species in the groups of organisms likely to Include in excess of 100,000 species (plus vertebrates) DESCRIBED SPECIES Viruses ESTIMATED SPECIES HIGHEST FIGURE WORKING FIGURE 5,000 500,000+ 500,000 Sy MaITe/Sy 4,000 3,000,000+ 400,000 Fungi 70,000 1,500,000+ 1,000,000 Te/Sy Protozoans 40,000 100,000+ 200,000 MaITe/Sy Algae 40,000 10,000,000+ 200,000 Ma Plants 250,000 500,000+ 300,000 Te Bacteria (Embryophytes) Vertebrates 45,000 50,000+ 50,000 MaITe Nematodes 15,000 1,000,000+ 500,000 MaITe/Sy Molluscs 70,000 180,000+ 200,000 MaITe Crustaceans 40,000 150,000+ 150,000 Ma Arachnids 75,000 1,000,000+ 750,000 Te 950,000 100,000,000+ 8,000,000 Te Insects Notes: The figures for described species (mostly given to the nearest 5,(00) were arrived at by consulting relevant specialists as well as by critically reviewing the literature.

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