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How many species of molluscs are there in the world’s oceans, and who is going to describe them?
Bouchet, P.; Bary, S.; Héros, V.; Marani, G. (2016). How many species of molluscs are there in the world’s oceans, and who is going to describe them?, in: Héros, V. et al. (Ed.) Tropical Deep-Sea Benthos 29. Mémoires du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (1993), 208: pp. 9-24
In: Héros, V. et al. (Ed.) (2016). Tropical Deep-Sea Benthos 29. Mémoires du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (1993), 208. Publications Scientifiques du Muséum: Paris. ISBN 978-2-85653-774-9. 463 + cd-rom pp., more
In: Mémoires du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (1993). Éditions du Muséum: Paris. ISSN 1243-4442, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Keywords
    Taxonomy; Mollusca [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Bouchet, P., more
  • Bary, S.
  • Héros, V.
  • Marani, G.

Abstract
    Currently 46,000 valid species of Recent marine molluscs are known, which is increasing by a yearly increment of 443 new species, mostly (51.5 %) from the tropical Indo-Pacific. In the last 15 years, the Tropical Deep-Sea Benthos programme has been the single largest source of new species descriptions, and many thousands more species are awaiting description. Seventy-eight percent of the new species are described in journals/books without an Impact Factor. The population of molluscan taxonomists worldwide is on the order of 500 individuals, but 34 authors alone are responsible for 50 % of the new species descriptions; 40 % of the first authors are citizen scientists (“amateur” taxonomists) but they are responsible for 57 % of the new species descriptions. In the last 5 years, 9 % of the new species have been described in a molecular context, a steady increase from 1.5 % in the preceding five-year period. Although the yearly increment of newly described species is on the rise, at the current pace it will take 300 years to name the estimated ~150,000 marine mollusc species awaiting description. With little institutional support from academic institutions and funding agencies for baseline alphataxonomy, the future inventorying of the marine molluscan diversity of the world rests on the massive involvement of citizen scientists.

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