Four newly discovered marine species added to world list WoRMS every day
The World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) confirms that currently 228,450 marine animal and plant species are known. A critical analysis has identified almost half the names assigned over two and a half centuries to ocean dwelling creatures as redundant aliases; they turned out to be synonyms. But still every day new species are discovered and described. In 2014 alone, some 1,451 new-to-science marine creatures were added to WoRMS an average of four per day.
Lifewatch Belgium & WoRMS (World Reister of Marine Species), 2015.03.12
Merging scores of global databases and adding new data, the more than 200 editors of WoRMS found almost 419,000 species names in literature worldwide, of which 190,400 (45%) were deemed duplicate identities. One species of sea snail alone had 113 different names.
WoRMS editors have contracted to 228,450 the number of species currently known to science. About 195,000 (86%) of them are sea animals, including just over 18,000 species of fish described since the mid-1700s, more than 1,800 sea stars, 816 squids, 93 whales and dolphins and 8,900 clams and other bivalves. The rest are species of kelp, seaweeds and other plants, bacteria, viruses, fungi and single cell organisms.
Based at the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) in Belgium, WoRMS is a collaborative scientific triumph. Is is used worldwide as the authoritative taxonomic reference list of all marine species. The further development and maintenance of the register is mainly funded by LifeWatch, the European e-infrastructure for biodiversity research.