Stories tagged biodiversity

A non-giant Peccary: Photo courtesy of deadeyebart a.k.a. Brett on
A non-giant Peccary: Photo courtesy of deadeyebart a.k.a. Brett on
Scientists have just recently confirmed the discovery of a new species in the Amazon region - the Giant Peccary.

Peccaries are New World members of the pig family, and the Giant Peccary, as the name would suggest, is the largest of them (it weighs in around 90 pounds).

The discovery of large species is always kind of a big deal, because we tend to have a hard time believing that they could have escaped notice for so long. I expect Bigfoot is right around the corner. Expect an announcement by the end of the week.


Every known species to be included.

Encylopedia of Life
Encylopedia of Life
For the first time in the history of the planet, scientists, students, and citizens will have multi-media access to all known living species, even those that have just been discovered.
The Encyclopedia of Life, to be developed over the next ten years, will provide, via the internet, written information and, when available, photographs, video, sound, location maps, and other multimedia information on each species. The Encyclopedia will be a moderated wiki-style environment.

In terms of practical accountability, efforts are currently being headed by a steering committee of senior officers from Harvard University, Smithsonian Institution, Field Museum, Marine Biological Laboratory, Biodiversity Heritage Library consortium, Missouri Botanical Garden, and the MacArthur and Sloan Foundations. ... Encyclopedia of Life and its board will work with scientists across the globe, securing the involvement of those individuals and institutions that are established experts on each species. Sources

$12.5 million in seed money.

Grant money from the John D. and Catherine T.
MacArthur Foundation($10 million) and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation ($2.5 million) enabled the project to pick up speed. The list of Encylopedia of Life's partners includes Edward O. Wilson as honorary chair of the advisory board.

Learn more about the Encylopedia of Life project:

Scientists have discovered more than 50 new species of animals on the island of Borneo in just the last 18 months. The creatures live in remote mountain areas that have not been well-explored.

Long-time Buzz readers will recall a similar story coming from New Guinea last March. Islands on the Equator are hot spots of biological diversity. Scientists argue these areas should be protected, so we can better study and understand nature.


Ocean Waves: Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

When you are swimming in the ocean, you might want to be careful not to drink the water. First of all, that salty seawater doesn’t taste too good. But also, scientists just discovered that there are way more bacteria swimming in the ocean than they previously thought.

According to a study recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, one liter of seawater can be home to over 20,000 different species of bacteria. This is about 20 to 100 times greater than previous estimates. Scientists now estimate that there could be between five and ten million types of bacteria living in the ocean.

The discovery was made possible by a new technique known as “454 tag sequencing” that allows for the quick identification of organisms. This technique allows them to identify thousands of kinds of unusual bacteria, which may have gone unnoticed in other research.

Dr Mitchell Sogin, from the Marine Biological Laboratory's Josephine Bay Paul Center for Comparative and Molecular Biology and Evolution, told BBC News that this biodiversity discovery “really points to our lack of knowledge and how much more there is to learn." There really is much to learn about the world around us.

So, next time you're swimming at the beach and you accidently take a big gulp of seawater, just think of the wide diversity of microorganisms you just swallowed.