New Species in the Old World: Europe as a Frontier in Biodiversity Exploration, a Test Bed for 21st Century Taxonomy - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles PLoS ONE Year : 2012

New Species in the Old World: Europe as a Frontier in Biodiversity Exploration, a Test Bed for 21st Century Taxonomy

Kees van Achterberg
  • Function : Author
Miguel Angel Alonso-Zarazaga
  • Function : Author
Horst Aspöck
  • Function : Author
Ulrike Aspöck
  • Function : Author
Berend Aukema
  • Function : Author
Nicolas Bailly
  • Function : Author
Ruud A Bank
  • Function : Author
Carlo Belfiore
  • Function : Author
Geoffrey Boxshall
  • Function : Author
Przemysław Chylarecki
  • Function : Author
Henrik Enghoff
  • Function : Author
Romolo Fochetti
  • Function : Author
Maria Soledad Gomez Lopez
  • Function : Author
Mark S Harvey
  • Function : Author
Klaus-Gerhard Heller
  • Function : Author
Peter van Helsdingen
  • Function : Author
Hannelore Hoch
  • Function : Author
Yde de Jong
  • Function : Author
Ole Karsholt
  • Function : Author
Wouter Los
  • Function : Author
Wojciech Magowski
  • Function : Author
Jos A Massard
  • Function : Author
Sandra J Mcinnes
  • Function : Author
Luis F Mendes
  • Function : Author
Eberhard Mey
  • Function : Author
Verner Michelsen
  • Function : Author
Alessandro Minelli
  • Function : Author
Juan M Nieto Nafrıa
  • Function : Author
Erik J van Nieukerken
  • Function : Author
Thomas Pape
  • Function : Author
Willy de Prins
  • Function : Author
Marian Ramos
  • Function : Author
Claudia Ricci
  • Function : Author
Cees Roselaar
  • Function : Author
Emilia Rota
  • Function : Author
Hendrik Segers
  • Function : Author
Tarmo Timm
  • Function : Author
Jan van Tol
  • Function : Author

Abstract

The number of described species on the planet is about 1.9 million, with ca. 17,000 new species described annually, mostly from the tropics. However, taxonomy is usually described as a science in crisis, lacking manpower and funding, a politically acknowledged problem known as the Taxonomic Impediment. Using data from the Fauna Europaea database and the Zoological Record, we show that contrary to general belief, developed and heavily-studied parts of the world are important reservoirs of unknown species. In Europe, new species of multicellular terrestrial and freshwater animals are being discovered and named at an unprecedented rate: since the 1950s, more than 770 new species are on average described each year from Europe, which add to the 125,000 terrestrial and freshwater multicellular species already known in this region. There is no sign of having reached a plateau that would allow for the assessment of the magnitude of European biodiversity. More remarkably, over 60% of these new species are described by non-professional taxonomists. Amateurs are recognized as an essential part of the workforce in ecology and astronomy, but the magnitude of non-professional taxonomist contributions to alpha-taxonomy has not been fully realized until now. Our results stress the importance of developing a system that better supports and guides this formidable workforce, as we seek to overcome the Taxonomic Impediment and speed up the process of describing the planetary biodiversity before it is too late.
Fichier principal
Vignette du fichier
Fontaine 2012 Taxonomy in Europe.pdf (248.88 Ko) Télécharger le fichier
Origin : Publisher files allowed on an open archive

Dates and versions

hal-04178075 , version 1 (07-08-2023)

Identifiers

Cite

Benoît Fontaine, Kees van Achterberg, Miguel Angel Alonso-Zarazaga, Rafael Araujo, Manfred Asche, et al.. New Species in the Old World: Europe as a Frontier in Biodiversity Exploration, a Test Bed for 21st Century Taxonomy. PLoS ONE, 2012, 7 (5), pp.e36881. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0036881⟩. ⟨hal-04178075⟩
290 View
6 Download

Altmetric

Share

Gmail Facebook X LinkedIn More