As a birder, it reminds me of the quest by some birders to see as many bird species as possible in some given time, whether it is a big day, a big year, or even how many birds one sees in one's lifetime of birding. Many of us keep life lists. For some, these attempts can be somewhat competitive, as in the various "big day" competitions around the country. These big day events, with teams consisting of well-known birders, involve scouting trips previous to the big day date to compile a list of species expected to be found and their hoped for locations. These competitors time out their big day down to the minute spent at each location in the attempt to find target species. Several books have been written about the "big year" and the adventurous quests of the participants. These include the books "A Supremely Bad Idea: Three Mad Birders and Their Quest to See It All" by Luke Dempsey, "Th Big Year: A tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession" by Mark Obmaschik" and the 2011 movie "The Big Year" based on Obmaschik's book, starring Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson.
As a former marine biologist who researched and published in the field of taxonomy of the species of deep open ocean shrimps (see the Links page, Some of My Other Interests for more on this), this bumper sticker also reminds me that we know very little about the diversity of species in the deep ocean. No one knows for sure how many species are to be found in the deep ocean, but estimates range from 500,000 to 10,000,000. Nearly every oceanographic expedition carrying out extensive sampling of organisms from mesopelagic, bathypelagic, and abyssopelagic waters, and around deep sea vent and seep sites, or even the abyssal bottom, has a very good chance of collecting new undescribed species. There are increasing fewer taxonomists who are trained to describe and name these new species. The mere size of the deep sea and the logistics of adequate sampling impedes adequate sampling, and since animal abundances are low in the deep ocean, many species are rare or patchily distributed; many of these new species are known by just one or few individuals. The deep sea is increasingly threatened by human impacts, such as the deposition of human waste, deep-sea mining, or the recent suggestions to use iron fertilization to help compensate for climate change effects due to human-caused increases in carbon dioxide release. These types of assaults may have unforeseen consequences in the poorly known deep sea habitat.
Finally, to bring this around to carving, the bumper sticker reminds me of the many possible birds there are for me to consider as being worthy of my carving attempts. I think that all of us bird carvers are always thinking ahead to what our next bird carving will be. Will it be one of the more common feeder birds, or one less well known that may not sell as well, but is especially intriguing?
So many species, ...so little time!