Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Areas Of High Biological Diversity Discovered

Date:
May 21, 1999
Source:
Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research
Summary:
By concentrating on the humble terrestrial flatworm, biologists from the Zoological Museum at Amsterdam University (UvA) have discovered three new "hotspots" of biological diversity: New Zealand, Southeast Australia and Tasmania.

Attractive and "interesting" animals such as butterflies, birds and mammals have been studied in much more detail than lower orders of animals. Although such "interesting" species make up only a small proportion of the total number of species on the planet, the knowledge we have of them to a large extent determines the supposed diversity of a particular biotope as a whole. By concentrating on the humble terrestrial flatworm, biologists from the Zoological Museum at Amsterdam University (UvA) have discovered three new "hotspots" of biological diversity: New Zealand, Southeast Australia and Tasmania. The study formed part of the NWO’s Priority Programme on Biodiversity within Disturbed Ecosystems.

The terrestrial flatworm, of which there are about 822 different species, can act as a model for the distribution of lower invertebrates. The biological diversity of this predator among the soil fauna–which is hardly preyed on by other animals– also reflects the diversity of organisms within the soil fauna. The soil fauna plays a key role in many ecosystems. Areas which were already considered "hotspots" of biodiversity, such as the coast of Brazil, Java and Sri Lanka, also turn out to be rich in different species of terrestrial flatworm. There is also a great diversity of these creatures in the hotspots for higher plants: New Caledonia, Madagascar and Sumatra. The terrestrial flatworm is therefore a good indicator of biodiversity. By analysing the available literature, the biologists also discovered three new hotspots which indicate a great diversity of soil organisms.

Human activity is causing the rapid extinction of plants and animals all over the world. This "biodiversity crisis" is considered to be one of the most pressing global problems. To save as many flora and fauna species as possible, biodiversity hotspots must first be identified. However, studies of biodiversity have hitherto taken insufficient account of the soil fauna and the lower animals, even though more than a million species of invertebrates –such as worms, insects and molluscs– are known. This is an enormous biodiversity when compared with only about 10,000 species of birds, 4500 species of mammals and 300,000 species of plants.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research. "New Areas Of High Biological Diversity Discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 May 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/05/990521055106.htm>.
Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research. (1999, May 21). New Areas Of High Biological Diversity Discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/05/990521055106.htm
Netherlands Organization For Scientific Research. "New Areas Of High Biological Diversity Discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/05/990521055106.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Battle Stink Bug Season

How To Battle Stink Bug Season

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) Homeowners in 33 states grapple with stink bugs moving indoors at this time of year. Here are a few tips to avoid stink bug infestations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins