In 2013, researchers at the California Academy of Sciences discovered 91 new plant and animal species and two new genera, enriching our understanding of the complex web of life on Earth and strengthening our ability to make informed conservation decisions.
The new species, previously unknown to science, include 38 different ants, 12 fishes, 14 plants, eight beetles, two spiders, one reptile, and one amphibian.
In addition, Academy scientists discovered a new genus of beetle and a previously unidentified genus of sea fan. More than a dozen Academy scientists along with several dozen international collaborators described the newly discovered plants and animals. Proving that there are still plenty of places to explore and things to discover on Earth, the scientists ventured into remote jungles and descended to the bottom of the sea, looked in their own backyards (California) and explored the other side of the world (Africa).
Their results, published in more than 30 scientific papers, help advance the Academy's research into two of the most important scientific questions of our time: "How did life evolve?" and "How will it persist?" "Our best estimates are that we have discovered and described less than 10 percent of the life forms on Earth," said Dr. Terry Gosliner, Dean of Science and Research Collections at the Academy. "As we race to discover the other 90 percent of the species that make up the tapestry of life, we are focusing our efforts on global biodiversity hotspots -- places that are both unusually diverse and highly threatened, including many tropical forests, coral reef communities and our own backyard, California."