I read a short article on the amount of new species discovered in 2009: Inventory Lists 19,232 Newly Discovered Species During Latest Count. Total number of plant species described = 2,184. Arizona State University is heading the International Institute for Species Exploration. An institute created to utilize technology and harness it’s benefits to organize species already known, and assist in properly cataloging the new. Sufficient databasing, and collaboration are their principles. Their homesite hosts new species in the news, top lists for species described, and new carnivorous plants. I could get lost on the site for hours, as I love the romance of discovery.
To burst my discovery bubble came another article: Biodiversity Crisis is Worse Than Climate Change, Experts Say. My mind directly shifted to think about this- species are becoming endangered and going extinct faster than the above institute can catalog them. The bottom line of the article is that we are in the middle of the world’s 6th mass extinction; through the calculations by scientists worldwide, we, humans are the cause.
To ward off the depression that comes along with this thought, do something about it. Help the fight and educate your friends! I want the chance to discover more species, and keep those that we already know from disappearing.