Our vast and dynamic planet still houses unexplored places with plants and animals never recorded before. But this year, the findings that have just been summarized in a document of the California Academy of Sciences. Scientists obtained new data on six continents and three oceans, working on scenarios such as isolated mountain peaks up to hundreds of feet below the ocean surface.
Thus, during this year, researchers They added 146 new species of animals, plants and mushrooms to the tree of life, enriching our understanding of Earth’s biodiversity and strengthening our ability to regenerate the natural world.
These new descriptions that have just been incorporated include 44 lizards, 30 ants, 14 sea drogages, 14 flowers, 13 sea stars, 7 fish, 4 beetles, 4 beetles, 4 sharks, 3 moths, 3 worms, 2 scorpions, 2 spiders, 1 lichens, a plunder, a clam and a pulb. More than a dozen scientists from the Academy, along with several dozen international collaborators, have been responsible for establishing their descriptions.
As we have seen at the latest United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15), biodiversity science is at the forefront of global conservation action and is key to uniting nations and equating them with the tools and information necessary to reverse species extinction. By discovering and documenting new species, we can contribute to this historical goal and ensure that our natural world remains rich and diverse for future generations,» said the Academy’s virologist and head of science, Shannon Bennett.
The stars among the news
The Academy’s associate researcher, Aaron Bauer, added 28 geckos (reptiles) to the gender Bavayia, more than twice the number of species known within the genre from 13 to 41. Bavayia jourdani is a group of small forest geckos in the New Caledonia mountains, they are species characterized by rather neutral brown and white brands. – ‘Although all species within the genre seem quite similar physically, we discovered that they are in fact genetically different, Bauer said.
Unlike many related island variants, which tend to be physically differentiated from each other as they adapt to various habitats and resources, Bavayia jourdani experienced an evolutionary process called non-adaptive radiation, in which species are genetically diversified but maintain similar physical traits. – ‘Almost all New Caledonia mountains house a unique species of Bavayia, and these habitats share many of the same conditions. The result are several species that are often almost indistinguishable to each other,» Bauer continued.
Julie Kierstead, for her part, ran into the newly described onion in Minnesota on a helicopter trip through the California Klamath Mountains in the spring of 2015. “The pilot decided to leave us on the Minnesota Mountain for about half an hour or less. We were really in the middle of nowhere” Kierstead recalled.
When he came out to the summit apparently uninteresting of loose rocks and small bushes, he noticed an unknown species of allium, the group of flower plants that include onions, garlic and shallotsAfter four years of searching for a second population in the Klamath corporation, Kierstead’s research partner discovered a small patch of the unidentified species at the top of the nearby Salt Creek Mountain.
As far as we know, the Minnesota mountain onion can only be found in these two neighbouring peaks. It is clearly favoured by this specific habitat” Kierstead said. Both peaks are located within a microclimate with greater precipitation than that of the surrounding region, which is increasingly plagued with forest fires that benefit the species. Because he lives in such a restricted habitat, any change in his environment, from a severe climate event to an outbreak of disease, could lead to extinction to the new species for science.
For his part, it was a historic year for the Academy’s Invertency Zoology Curator, Terry Gosliner, who celebrated 40 years with the Academy’s Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability Sciences, discovered 14 sea drogage new for the science of the Indo-Pacific region. Gosliner has described about a quarter of all sea drogages known to science, and has recently focused on smaller and more difficult to find species.
With an inch long, Goniobranchus fabulus, whose name is translated as ‘small harveja’, is the largest species in this year’s group of marine drogage.
Other species, such as the tiny Murphydoris is adustaThey are only two millimeters long. Gosliner and his team conducted their research with the Centre for Compared Genomics (CCG), the Academy’s internal laboratory for genomics and DNA sequencing. For him, the GCC is not only a dynamic workspace to test new techniques, but a collaborative training site to host researchers and students around the world: “It takes a global community to develop an understanding of biodiversity, he said.
Meanwhile, this year, the bottle emeritus curator Frank Almeda, and the Academy’s associate researcher, Ricardo Pacifico, described several new species of plants with flowers from irregular peaks of the Campo Rupestre of Brazil. Known for extreme temperatures, strong winds and nutrient-deficient soils. This mountainous ecorregion of bushes and rocky grief is an apparently arid landscape. But it is because of these harsh conditions that scientists continue to make new species discoveries.
These strong ecological pressures have led life to adapt to this severe environment in unique ways, resulting in a large amount of plant life that is not found anywhere else on Earth.
Pacific met with Microlicia prostratsa bush of yellow flowers, at a remote peak that had never been examined before by botanists. – “The bushes at the summit were less than half a meter high. It was like walking through a garden” Pacific commented.
As global temperatures continue to rise, plant populations, particularly those that have adapted to narrow temperature ranges, are forced to migrate to colder regions at higher elevations. But for peak-loving plants like M. prostrata, there’s no place to move.
Students Harper Forbes and Prakrit Jain, discovered two Scorpiments new for science with the help of the Academy’s Aracnology Curator, Lauren Esposito. Close scientists first noticed the unidentified species on iNaturalist, and soon went to the field to find them, collect them and eventually describe them. Paruroctonus soda y Paruroctonus concluits are small scorpions that live in the desert of dry and salty lake beds in central and Southern California.