Updated: May 17, 2021
If there are an estimated 610,000 species in Australia with 190,000 currently described (31%), how long might it take to have all described?
Estimates of the number of new species described vary and change year to year. The highest rate was estimated to be prior to WW1 with around 1400 new species described annually. More recently the rate has been near half of this. Even at 1000 new species described annually, we’d be looking at 420 years before we could have a complete catalogue. With a 10% decline in the taxonomic workforce at major institutions over the last 25 years, something needs to change.
The Australian Academy of Science has launched the Taxonomy Australia program and released the associated publication “Discovering Biodiversity: A decadal plan for taxonomy and biosystematics in Australian and New Zealand 2018-2027”
The website lists 763 new Australia species described in 2019. See the full listing on the Taxonomy Australia “Discoveries Dashboard”. (Links through to the pages listing the papers may take a moment to load).
Check out the Taxonomy Australia blog for interesting stories on new discoveries.