Home Conservation News Biodiversity Map Of Earth Updated After 136 Years

Biodiversity Map Of Earth Updated After 136 Years

Biodiversity Map Of Earth Updated After 136 Years

February 2013: A biodiversity map created by British naturalist Russel Wallace, who co-discovered the theory of natural selection along with Charles Darwin way back in 1876, has been updated after 136 years. Advances in technology and data collected on more than 20,000 species have enabled a team of 15 researchers to create a far more detailed version of the map.

An aerial panaroma of the Himalaya over the cold desert of Ladakh.Photograph by Subhash Ranjan.

The updated map was published in Science, and identified 11 major realms and analysed the phylogenetic relationships of 21,037 species. Wallace had highlighted six in his version. In this new effort, researchers decided to take into account not only the current distribution of vertebrates, but also how they relate genetically. Jean-Philippe Lessard, co-author of the study, from McGill University, Canada, said, "Genetic sequencing allowed us to do things that weren’t possible before. Looking at these evolutionary links allows us to know which parts of the world are more closely related to other parts of the world.”

"Our study is a long overdue update of one of the most fundamental maps in natural sciences," said Ben Holt from the Centre for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. "For the first time since Wallace's attempt, we are finally able to provide a broad description of the natural world based on incredibly detailed information for thousands of vertebrate species," he added. The new map will soon be available on Google Earth. Read the full report here.

Source: Sanctuary Asia.

     
     
     

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    Jennifer Scarlott

     This is fascinating, and makes me think of E.O. Wilson's Encyclopedia of Life project, which Sanctuary readers can find at http://www.eol.org.
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