Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 215-232

First online:

How many species are there?

  • Nigel E. StorkAffiliated withBiodiversity Division, Entomology Department, The Natural History Musuem

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‘How many species are there’ is a question receiving more attention from biologists and reasons for this are suggested. Different methods of answering this question are examined and include: counting all species; extrapolations from known faunas and regions; extrapolations from samples; methods using ecological models; censusing taxonomists' views. Most of these methods indicate that global totals of 5 to 15 million species are reasonable. The implications of much higher estimates of 30 million species or more are examined, particularly the question of where these millions of species might be found.


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