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Why Biodiversity

Current estimates of the total number of eukaryote species on Earth range from 5 - 10 million (May, 2010). But, despite 250 years of modern taxonomy, less than 2 million species have ever been named or described. And this lack of information is not distributed evenly among taxa. Although obvious groups such as mammals and birds are fairly well known, it is estimated that 70% of arthropod species have yet to be discovered (Hamilton et al., 2010). The need for biodiversity data is ever more critical as species come under pressure from climate change, habitat loss, and other human impacts. How can we conserve what we don't know we have?