Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New scholarly paper reveals 100 new species of lichenized fungi

15.02.2011
A signature of undiscovered global diversity

In an unprecedented coming-out party, 100 newly discovered species are revealed to the world in a single scholarly paper coordinated by Field Museum scientists.

The 100 organisms are lichens, a type of fungi that form associations with algae and populate environments from arctic tundra to tropical rain forests. And the usual inattention bestowed upon new lichens is one reason for aggregating so many new ones in a single paper in the Feb. 18 issue of the journal Phytotaxa.

It is estimated that about 100,000 fungal species, including 17,500 lichens, have been discovered and named, but there may be a million more species waiting to be noticed by science. Lumbsch and his Field colleague Robert Lücking recruited 102 lichenologists from 37 countries to write the massive paper to help draw attention to huge shortfalls in our knowledge of the diverse life on Earth.

A massive collaboration such as the lichen project has some benefits over traditional biology that is done by individuals or small groups, Lumbsch said. Descriptions of the lichen species provided in the Phytotaxa article are more uniform than would likely be true if the 100 new species each appeared in a single article.

Deciding which characteristics of a lichen species to discuss has often been at the whim of individual biologists. Some fancied color while others were more intrigued by texture. As a result, some descriptions from decades ago are difficult to compare with modern information.

"Molecular data show that some characteristics biologists once regarded as minor really carry more importance," Lumbsch said.

The lichen collaboration is intended to demonstrate to biologists that even though they join with a large group in presenting their findings, they still receive full credit and don't lose authority over their discovery, he said.

Another benefit from the lichen collaboration is that besides being in the scholarly paper, every newly found species got its own Web site, part of the Encyclopedia of Life project fostered by the Field Museum and several other institutions. That project seeks to build a public Web source for information on all known species.

"We wanted to show these scientists how easy it is to contribute their information to the Encyclopedia of Life and how useful that is," said Lumbsch.

While biology traditionally has been more solitary, many in the field acquired an appetite for larger collaborations with the project to map the human genome more than a decade ago. Since then, such collaborations have become more common, especially in projects that seek to coordinate understanding of life on the planet, Lumbsch said.

Recruiting biologists to join the lichen collaboration wasn't difficult, he said, but "sometimes getting them to pay attention to deadlines wasn't so easy."

The project, which took about a year to complete, would have been impossible without the Internet and e-mail, Lumbsch said, but even with e-mail communications were very time-consuming.

"I would like to do it again," he said. "But first I will talk to some information specialists to learn how we might facilitate communications so my e-mail inbox doesn't keep overflowing!"

Nancy O'Shea | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.fieldmuseum.org

Further reports about: Encyclopedia Encyclopedia of Life Forum Life Science Phytotaxa

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New insights into the world of trypanosomes
23.08.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht New Test for Rare Immunodeficiency
23.08.2017 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Meter-sized single-crystal graphene growth becomes possible

22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>