Biodiversity: A Call for Discovery

By Nicole Mae Halasan
Published 2019 November 5 – From November 2019 Issue

“What’s more to life?” Words you would plausibly reel off as you heed new species that have yet to be discovered. Coexisting in a world bounteous of fascinating creatures that you’ve barely even cognize would exist. Round-the-clock search has been ergo a preeminent concern for biodiversity researchers to contribute in the taxonomic classification system of animals that seems at the end of rainbow from its fulfillment. According to Michael Donoghue of Yale University and William Alverson of Chicago’s Field Museum (Conniff 2010), years and years after, vibrant and new marvel species keep on popping out, justly proving that we are living in “a new age of discovery.”

Biodiversity scientists approximated that around 90% of the species on Earth are still undiscovered, thus it hands over a shot for all researchers to relentlessly explore God’s wonder. In 2018, notable collaborations of international museums, biodiversity laboratories and the California Academy of Sciences ensued discovery of 222 new animal species including 120 wasps, 34 sea slugs, 28 ants, 19 fish, seven spiders, four eels, three sharks, two water bears, one frog, one snake, one seahorse, one moss, and one liverwort plant. This discovery made their quest across over five continents and three oceans, inclusive of taking a plunge into river-carved canyons, lunging to maximal ocean depths, and furbishing murky forests, worth-taking (Imster 2018).

Withal, as quipped by Dr. Tim Littlewood, Head of Life Sciences at the Museum Today, scientists responded to the advent of modernism by creating advances in imaging, microscopy, biochemical analyses, and especially in molecular biology that yielded new data beyond traditional morphology that can differentiate or unite groups of organisms into species (Davis, 2018). One such example is

DNA barcoding, which is a process of species identification that uses a genetic marker to discern if an organism belongs to a particular species (Livingston, 2014).

In fact, this method, along with the diversity assessment Global Malaise Project, has been utilized by Ateneo de Manila University faculty members Ms. Jhoana M. Garces and Mr. Emmanuel D. Delocado in their PhD dissertation entitled, “Integrative Taxonomic Framework Extending the knowledge in Southeast Asia, Genus Dodgeodes” and “Knowledge Gaps and Areas for Exploration on Freshwater Biodiversity: A look at Limnichidae Beetles” respectively.

This urge for the researchers to discover new species before they cease to exist is new species natural habitats and rapid extinction before they rates of animals and even plants as cease to exist exemplified by Florida Museum Director, Douglas Jones (Livingston, 2014). For it is not just for taxonomic classification, but more on to serve as novel gateways of groundbreaking innovations in science and technology, or perhaps society wherein it will remind us that we are one of the stewards of our sole planet. Given this, we are obliged to carry on the responsibility of protecting and maintaining this diversity of life for the sake of our thriving ecosystems.


References

Davis J. 2018. Over 270 new species described in 2018 [Internet). Natural History Museum: [cited 2019 Oct 25]. Available from: https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/news/2018/december/over-270-new-species-discovered-in-2018.html

Imster E. 2018. Scientists describe 229 new species in 2018 [Internet). Earthsky Communications: [cited 2019 Oct 25]. Available from: https://earthsky.org/earth/newspecies-2018

Livingston S. 2014. Discovery of over 100 new species (Internet). Florida Museum: (cited 2019 Oct 25). Available from: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/science/discovery-ofover-100-new-species/

Conniff R. 2010. Meet the new species (Internet]. Smithsonian.com: [cited 2019 Oct 25). Available from: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/meet-the-newspecies-748819/

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