Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Thousands of undiscovered plant species face extinction worldwide

Date:
July 7, 2010
Source:
Duke University
Summary:
Faced with threats such as habitat loss and climate change, thousands of rare flowering plant species worldwide may become extinct before scientists can even discover them, according to a paper published today by a trio of American and British researchers in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Utricularia menziesii (Redcoats): a rare carnivorous plant in southwest Australia.
Credit: Image courtesy of Dr. David Roberts

Faced with threats such as habitat loss and climate change, thousands of rare flowering plant species worldwide may become extinct before scientists can even discover them, according to a paper published today by a trio of American and British researchers in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

"Scientists have estimated that, overall, there could be between 5 million and 50 million species, but fewer than 2 million of these species have been discovered to date," says lead author Lucas Joppa of Microsoft Research in Cambridge, U.K., who received his doctorate from Duke University earlier this year. "Using novel methods, we were able to refine the estimate of total species for flowering plants, and calculate how many of those remain undiscovered."

Based on data from the online World Checklist of Selected Plant Families at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the scientists calculated that there are between 10 and 20 percent more undiscovered flowering plant species than previously estimated. This finding has "enormous conservation implications, as any as-yet-unknown species are likely to be overwhelmingly rare and threatened," Joppa says.

The new, more accurate estimate can be used to infer the proportion of all threatened species, says coauthor David Roberts of the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent. "If we take the number of species that are currently known to be threatened, and add to that those that are yet to be discovered, we can estimate that between 27 percent and 33 percent of all flowering plants will be threatened with extinction," he says.

"That percentage reflects the global impact of factors such as habitat loss. It may increase if you factor in other threats such as climate change," Joppa adds.

"The timing couldn't be more perfect," says co-author Stuart Pimm, Doris Duke Professor of Conservation Ecology at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment. "The year 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity. We wrote the paper to help answer the obvious questions: How much biodiversity is out there, and how many species will we lose before they are even discovered?"


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Lucas N. Joppa, David L. Roberts, Stuart L. Pimm. How many species of flowering plants are there? Proceedings of the Royal Society B, July 7, 2010 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2010.1004

Cite This Page:

Duke University. "Thousands of undiscovered plant species face extinction worldwide." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100707065218.htm>.
Duke University. (2010, July 7). Thousands of undiscovered plant species face extinction worldwide. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100707065218.htm
Duke University. "Thousands of undiscovered plant species face extinction worldwide." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100707065218.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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