Proving that our vast and dynamic planet still contains unexplored places, the scientists discovered these new plants and animals across five continents and three oceans -- venturing into Croatian caves, diving to extreme ocean depths, and surveying savanna forests. Their results help advance the Academy's mission to explore, explain, and sustain life.
"Despite decades of tirelessly scouring some of the most familiar and remote places on Earth," says Shannon Bennett, PhD, and Academy Chief of Science, "biodiversity scientists estimate that more than 90% of nature's species remain unknown. A rich diversity of plants and animals is what allows life on our planet to thrive: the interconnectedness of all living systems provides collective resilience in the face of our climate crisis. Each newly discovered species serves as an important reminder of the critical role we play in better understanding and preserving these precious ecosystems."
Highlights - Species - Academy
Below are highlights from the 71 new species described by the Academy in 2019.
Emeritus Curator of Botany Frank Almeda, PhD, described a rare white-blossomed plant Trembleya altoparaisensis this year based on several specimens collected over 100 years ago by the famous 19th-century botanist Auguste Francois Marie Glaziou. As rare now as it was then, the plant proved difficult to find in the wild. "People don't think plants move," says Ricardo Pacifico, a PhD student working with Almeda and visiting researcher at the Academy, "but they do." When an environment changes, plants will move to areas that better suit them. For botanists like Pacifico -- who sometimes relies on a single museum specimen collected decades ago to track down a plant's current whereabouts in the field -- these migrations can be both challenging and rewarding. Luckily, on a recent expedition to the lush canyons of Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park in Brazil, Pacifico was able to track down a...
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