10 March 2009

Museums and how new species are described

A fascinating post on the Echinoblog by Chris Mah outlines The Natural History Museum & How You Describe a New Species. It gives a really good insight into how much work (and time) goes into identifying new species.

Among the recent new marine species discovered in Singapore waters is Lim Swee Cheng's Tethycometes radicosa (which translates to sea comet with roots). It is the seventh sponge species described from Singapore. More about this discovery on the wildsingapore news blog.

Once a new species is determined, there's the tricky business of naming it. Here's some stories about species naming. New species are sometimes also auctioned for the opportunity to name them, as a means of raising funds for more research.

New records (that is the species are not new, but they are the first record for Singapore) are unearthed quite regularly in Singapore. By people who take the time to look more closely are our wild places. And of course, consulting specimens in our museums and experts knowledgeable about our native biodiversity.

One such happy recent discovery was the new record of a very large sea star on Cyrene Reefs: Pentaceraster mammilatus. Dr David Lane was present on that trip and identified it. Here's more about some new records for Singapore marinelife.

Nature in Singapore of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Singapore's natural history museum, has lots of papers about such discoveries.

More links about new species

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