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Free Content How many Species are there in Bermuda?

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Explored since 1515 and documented in at least 3000 publications, Bermuda's natural history is well enough known to permit a first biodiversity inventory similar to one being conducted in Hawaii. Although seamount Bermuda originated 110 mya and was “topped up” by a separate volcanic event 33 mya, its extant biodiversity was largely shaped by pleistocene sea level fluctuations which alternately favored terrestrial and shallow marine biota. It was more recently molded by cataclysmic episodes of species extinction and introduction brought about by human colonization, several of which occurred only in the past half century. A taxonomic tabulation of Bermuda's species, in comparison with Hawaii, reveals that Bermuda now has at least 8299 species of which 4597 are marine and 3702 are terrestrial. Hawaii, which has 2.68 times more species, has an overall endemism rate of 38.0%, more than ten times that of Bermuda (3.0%). While the degree of marine endemism is 11.8% in Hawaii vs. only 2.4% in Bermuda, the difference is even higher in terrestrial taxa (48.3% vs. 3.7%), especially in Lichens (33.2% vs. 10.9%), Bryophytes (24.1% vs. 4.0%), Ferns (60.5% vs. 15.8%), Angiosperms (44.5% vs. 1.0%), Gastropoda (91.3% vs. 23.4%) and Insecta (65.9% vs. 3.4%). The tabulation of major taxa is accompanied by notes on the occurrence and fate of selected species, and an extensive bibliography.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 1998

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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