With help of bioblitzes, official count of known species in Great Smoky Mountains NP now tops 20,000
About a decade ago, the all taxa biodiversity inventory effort at Great Smoky Mountains National Park had tallied more than 6,500 previously undetected species in the park. Today that number has grown to 20,000 species of various plants, animals, and other organisms.
Why search for new species? Just knowing what resides in the park is a good reason, but also learning more about these species and their traits can help in surprising ways. The information teaches us how the park's ecosystem works, how change is impacting the park, either by introducing new species or eliminating long residing natives, and could even lead to new medicines to combat cancer or other diseases.