How Close Are We to Discovering All Life on Earth?


Nearly 90% of all life on Earth is unaccounted for, but how close are we to discovering all life on Earth before it disappears?
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The Earth is filled with millions of incredible life forms, and discovering who they are, where they are located, and what makes them tick is key if we want to reveal clues about our evolutionary past and access our future potential.

By knowing as much as possible about the life around us, we will be able to unlock the secrets of medicine, engineering, design, economics, sustainability, and stewardship that will define the future of our species.

But we need to act fast if we want to identify and catalog as many species as possible because we are living in a biodiversity crisis, meaning species are going extinct before we can even realize they exist, or know their potential value.

In this episode of How Close Are We, we introduce you to a variety of biodiversity researchers working hard to accelerate the discovery of different species, develop digital conservation tools, and maintain one of the world’s largest biological collections through “cryopreservation.”

Right now, we only know of about 10% of the biodiversity that we have on Earth, which means we have about 90% to go.

Find out more about the story behind the field research, catalogers, and cryogenic labs that are working to understand, register, and preserve life on Earth on this episode of How Close Are We.

#Biodiversity #Earth #Species #Science #Seeker #HowCloseAreWe

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Smithsonian Scientists Dry and Store Live Ovarian Tissues Above Freezing Temperatures for the First Time
Scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) have preserved complex ovarian tissues in domestic cats above freezing temperatures by dehydrating them with the help of microwaves. Over the past five years, scientists have been able to successfully dehydrate single cells, such as sperm cells or germinal vesicles (oocytes’ nuclei), but this is the first time it has been done in ovarian tissues, which contain thousands of different cells with various functions, including eggs at the early developmental stage. The findings were published today, Dec. 4, in PLOS ONE and could provide better options for fertility preservation of human cancer patients or endangered wildlife.

Map of Life
Putting biodiversity on the map

Scientists discovered 71 new species this year. Here are some of their favorites
“Despite decades of tirelessly scouring some of the most familiar and remote places on Earth, biodiversity scientists estimate that more than 90% of nature’s species remain unknown,” said Academy Chief of Science Shannon Bennett. “A rich diversity of plants and animals is what allows life on our planet to thrive: The interconnectedness of all living systems provides collective resilience in the face of our climate crisis. Each newly discovered species serves as an important reminder of the critical role we play in better understanding and preserving these precious ecosystems.”
How close are we to solving some of humanity’s biggest challenges? We go in search of experts, dive into the facts and comb through the research to find out just how close we are to changing the world.

Seeker explains every aspect of our world through a lens of science, inspiring a new generation of curious minds who want to know how today’s discoveries in science, math, engineering and technology are impacting our lives, and shaping our future. Our stories parse meaning from the noise in a world of rapidly changing information.
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