A sampling of fungi collected during summer 2008 in Northern Saskatchewan mixed woods, near LaRonge, is an example regarding the species diversity of fungi. In this photo, there are also leaf lichens and mosses.
Rapid environmental changes typically cause mass extinctions. More than 99.9 percent of all species that ever lived on Earth, amounting to over five billion species, are estimated to be extinct. Estimates on the number of Earth's current species range from 10 million to 14 million, of which about 1.2 million have been documented and over 86 percent have not yet been described. More recently, in May 2016, scientists reported that 1 trillion species are estimated to be on Earth currently with only one-thousandth of one percent described. The total amount of related DNAbase pairs on Earth is estimated at 5.0 x 1037 and weighs 50 billion tonnes. In comparison, the total mass of the biosphere has been estimated to be as much as 4 TtC (trillion tons of carbon). In July 2016, scientists reported identifying a set of 355 genes from the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA) of all organisms living on Earth.
1916 – The term biological diversity was used first by J. Arthur Harris in "The Variable Desert," Scientific American, 6182: "The bare statement that the region contains a flora rich in genera and species and of diverse geographic origin or affinity is entirely inadequate as a description of its real biological diversity."
1975 – The term natural diversity was introduced (by The Science Division of The Nature Conservancy in a 1975 study, "The Preservation of Natural Diversity.")
1980 – Thomas Lovejoy introduced the term biological diversity to the scientific community in a book. It rapidly became commonly used.
1985 – According to Edward O. Wilson, the contracted form biodiversity was coined by W. G. Rosen: "The National Forum on BioDiversity ... was conceived by Walter G.Rosen ... Dr. Rosen represented the NRC/NAS throughout the planning stages of the project. Furthermore, he introduced the term biodiversity".
1985 - The term "biodiversity" appears in the article, "A New Plan to Conserve the Earth's Biota" by Laura Tangley.
1988 - The term biodiversity first appeared in a publication.
The present - the term has achieved widespread use.