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

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>