Few years earlier, researchers from Yale University published a “Map of Life” that plotted the distribution of Earth’s known species. And now, the researchers have published a map of undiscovered biodiversity.
The map, published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, highlights places that are most likely to host undiscovered biodiversity. The researchers expect that the new map will inspire other scientists to set out to discover the world’s most vulnerable ecosystems.
Co-author of the paper, Walter Jetz said, “At the current pace of global environmental change, there is no doubt that many species will go extinct before we have ever learned about their existence and had the chance to consider their fate.”
Jetz added, “I feel such ignorance is inexcusable, and we owe it to future generations to rapidly close these knowledge gaps.”
The latest research has been pretty different from previous approach. Prior to the latest paper, previous studies on Earth’s undiscovered species have been mostly quantitative as they focused on the numerical rather than qualitative questions.
The authors of the latest study found that the only 10 to 20 percent of Earth’s species have been described in the scientific literature. As most of the world’s undiscovered biodiversity is concentrated in regions where deforestation rates are accelerating, scientists must act fast to discover species before they disappear.
“A more even distribution of taxonomic resources can accelerate species discoveries and limit the number of ‘forever unknown’ extinctions,” Jetz said.