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I was reading about how life emerged from oceans, and the following question occured to me. Do land species suffer from the founder effect and is there more (genetic) diversity in marine species? A quick google search pointed to the fact that a majority of species live on land. Is that a paradox?

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I know that marine habitats have a higher phylogenetic diversity (see also Faith 2006) than terrestial habitats, even though they host far fewer species, which is a result of their deeper evolutionary history. Unfortunately, I cannot find a good reference to this claim right now (see http://biodiversity.europa.eu/topics/ecosystems-and-habitats/marine for some support though).

I wouldn't really call the difference in species numbers a paradox though, since speciation rates depend on habitat complexity and dispersal rates (which are generally higher in marine habitats). In either case, the knowledge of marine habitats and species living there are much poorer than for terrestial habitats, so differences in species numbers are highly tentative.

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The estimated diversity, in this case species richness, is higher on land than in the ocean. To resume the state of knowledge of biodiversity, here's an excerpt from an open-access paper by Mora et al. (2011) How Many Species Are There on Earth and in the Ocean?

"...(our analysis) predicts ∼8.7 million (±1.3 million SE) eukaryotic species globally, of which ∼2.2 million (±0.18 million SE) are marine. In spite of 250 years of taxonomic classification and over 1.2 million species already catalogued in a central database, our results suggest that some 86% of existing species on Earth and 91% of species in the ocean still await description."

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