NSF: Researchers find that Earth may be home to 1 trillion species

National Science Foundation

From NSF, May 2, 2016  --  Largest analysis of microbial data reveals that 99.999 percent of all species remain undiscovered

Earth could contain nearly 1 trillion species, with only one-thousandth of 1 percent now identified, according to the results of a new study.

The estimate, based on universal scaling laws applied to large datasets, appears today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The report's authors are Jay Lennon and Kenneth Locey of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.

The scientists combined microbial, plant and animal datasets from government, academic and citizen science sources, resulting in the largest compilation of its kind.

Altogether, these data represent more than 5.6 million microscopic and non-microscopic species from 35,000 locations across all the world's oceans and continents, except Antarctica.

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