Chapter 2 : An Overview of Biodiversity—Estimating the Scale

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The term "biological diversity" was introduced by Elliot Norse and colleagues to define diversity at three levels of complexity: (i) genetic (intraspecies diversity), (ii) species (numbers of species), and (iii) ecological (community diversity), but subsequently the contracted expression "biodiversity" has become the common parlance. An exciting opportunity for extending the knowledge of global biodiversity is presented by little-studied habitats, the most expansive of which are marine habitats, and the least explored of which are the deep seas. At the same time that Wilson was publishing his exuberant account of biodiversity, Gaston and May were evaluating the state of the taxonomic workforce in Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. This innovation has led to the discovery of numerous novel microbial taxa, from species to division status, and is discussed in detail. Bioprospecting of deep-sea sediments by the combined application of methods described allows to conclude that the differing sections of the core profile contained significantly different actinomycete populations, both in terms of species richness and phylogenetic diversity; thus, each section represents a unique environment for biotechnological exploitation.

Citation: Bull A, Stach J. 2004. An Overview of Biodiversity—Estimating the Scale, p 15-28. In Bull A (ed), Microbial Diversity and Bioprospecting. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817770.ch2

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Table 1

Described and estimated species numbers

Citation: Bull A, Stach J. 2004. An Overview of Biodiversity—Estimating the Scale, p 15-28. In Bull A (ed), Microbial Diversity and Bioprospecting. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817770.ch2

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