Algae - Numbers


The Algal Collection of the US National Herbarium (located in the National Museum of Natural History) consists of approximately 320,500 dried specimens, which, although not exhaustive (no exhaustive collection exists), gives an idea of the order of magnitude of the number of algal species (that number remains unknown). Estimates vary widely. For example, according to one standard textbook, in the British Isles the UK Biodiversity Steering Group Report estimated there to be 20000 algal species in the UK. Another checklist reports only about 5000 species. Regarding the difference of about 15000 species, the text concludes: "It will require many detailed field surveys before it is possible to provide a reliable estimate of the total number of species ...."

Regional and group estimates have been made as well:

  • 5000–5500 species of red algae worldwide
  • "some 1300 in Australian Seas"
  • 400 seaweed species for the western coastline of South Africa, and 212 species from the coast of KwaZulu-Natal. Some of these are duplicates as the range extends across both coasts, and the total recorded is probably about 500 species. Most of these are listed in List of seaweeds of South Africa. These exclude phytoplankton and crustose corallines.
  • 669 marine species from California (US)
  • 642 in the check-list of Britain and Ireland

and so on, but lacking any scientific basis or reliable sources, these numbers have no more credibility than the British ones mentioned above. Most estimates also omit microscopic algae, such as phytoplankton.

The most recent estimate suggests a total number of 72,500 algal species worldwide.

Read more about this topic:  Algae

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Famous quotes containing the word numbers:

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