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Tropical Scientists Find Fewer Species Than Expected

Date:
April 25, 2002
Source:
University Of Minnesota
Summary:
An eight-year National Science Foundation-funded study of New Guinean rainforest plants and the insects that feed on them has yielded a new and dramatically lower estimate of the number of species on the planet. The estimate, which lowers the number of species from approximately 31 million to between four and six million, is based on the finding that insects specialize their feeding not on individual species of plants, but on genera and even families of plants.

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL -- An eight-year National Science Foundation-funded study of New Guinean rainforest plants and the insects that feed on them has yielded a new and dramatically lower estimate of the number of species on the planet. The estimate, which lowers the number of species from approximately 31 million to between four and six million, is based on the finding that insects specialize their feeding not on individual species of plants, but on genera and even families of plants. In "bringing some reality" to estimates of world biodiversity, the study allows scientists to get a better handle on how fast species are being lost, said University of Minnesota plant biologist George Weiblen, the principal plant expert on the research team. The work will be published in the April 25 issue of Nature.


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The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Minnesota. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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University Of Minnesota. "Tropical Scientists Find Fewer Species Than Expected." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 April 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/04/020425072847.htm>.
University Of Minnesota. (2002, April 25). Tropical Scientists Find Fewer Species Than Expected. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/04/020425072847.htm
University Of Minnesota. "Tropical Scientists Find Fewer Species Than Expected." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/04/020425072847.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

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