There’s a BBC radio programme called More or Less that I like a lot, mostly because it takes the trouble to think about things. A new series has just started, and I was thrilled to see that the programme was going to tackle extinction rates. Not anything as simple as extinction rates for crop seeds, or agricultural biodiversity in general (which is always 75%), but the biggie, the global extinction rate for (wild) species. All power to them, they really did try, at the same time having some fun with some of the more inane pronouncements on the topic. But I must say, even knowing a bit about the topic, I found it really hard to follow.
And to repeat what the programme said, just because we don’t accurately know what the rates of extinction are, doesn’t mean that the loss is unimportant. Except that, really, it would be nice to know the birth rate of new bacterial biodiversity.