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Determine number of species in a country

Discussion of the distribution and abundance of living organisms and how these properties are affected by interactions between the organisms and their environment

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Determine number of species in a country

Postby Elinor » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:48 am

Hi Everyone

I got this essay question that asked - How would one go about determining the number of species of plants and animals in their country?

I know for small areas you can use quadrats and what not but I have no idea how to approach this question that is asking me to evaluate an entire country. (And checking previous data for the country is not an option). In other words you have to start from scratch to determine this.

Does anyone have any ideas?? Thanks alot for your help.
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Re: Determine number of species in a country

Postby skeptic » Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:24 am

The short answer is that you cannot. It is a stupid question.

Sampling techniques are improving all the time, and more and more data is coming in. However, we are well short of answering that question, even with the latest techniques.

How many species of nematode worms are present in a sample of soil? A very large number. But it takes a nematologist and many years work to answer even that simple a question.

The best you can do is make a guess, which will be of the order of millions of species.
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