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Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 22, Issue 12, pp 2907–2918 | Cite as

How many species of Cyanobacteria are there? Using a discovery curve to predict the species number

  • João Carlos Nabout
  • Barbbara da Silva Rocha
  • Fernanda Melo Carneiro
  • Célia Leite Sant’Anna
Original Paper

Abstract

Although the number of biodiversity studies is increasing, the total number of species in different taxonomic groups remains uncertain. Estimates of the number of described species of Cyanobacteria range from 2,000 to 8,000. However, no studies have used discovery curves to estimate this number. The aim of this study was to understand the status of cyanobacterial biodiversity on a global scale and to estimate the number of still-unknown species, using a discovery curve. The species and year of descriptions of Cyanobacteria were obtained from the CyanoDB database. The cumulative number of species per year was adjusted using three asymptotic models (Logistic, Gompertz, and Extreme Value). These nonlinear models were compared through the Akaike information criterion. There are currently 2,698 described species of Cyanobacteria, and the best model (Gompertz) estimated that this group must contain 6,280 species. These three models proved to be quite idiosyncratic (Extreme value: 3,166 species and Logistic: 3,769 species), and therefore the choice of model is fundamental in studies using a discovery curve. Many Cyanobacteria species remain to be described, demonstrating the importance of increasing investment in research on the biodiversity of Cyanobacteria, in particular in understudied geographic regions.

Keywords

Cumulative species curve Biodiversity Asymptote models 

Notes

Acknowledgments

BSR received a scholarship from CNPq (ATP-B). Our work on phycology has been continuously supported by different grants from CNPp (process 563834/2010-2), CAPES, FAPEG (011/2012) and FAPESP.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • João Carlos Nabout
    • 1
  • Barbbara da Silva Rocha
    • 1
  • Fernanda Melo Carneiro
    • 2
  • Célia Leite Sant’Anna
    • 3
  1. 1.Unidade Universitária de Ciências Exatas e Tecnológica (UnUCET)Universidade Estadual de GoiásAnápolisBrazil
  2. 2.Unidade Universitária de IporáUniversidade Estadual de GoiásIporáBrazil
  3. 3.Instituto de BotânicaNúcleo de Pesquisa em FicologiaSão PauloBrazil

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