Many years of evolution have created a stunning diversity of microbes. Understanding the richness of this awesome and mind-expanding microbial world puts our lives into perspective and gives us new respect for other beings.
The huge numbers of microbial species are only beginning to be known. Of the more than one million species of bacteria suspected to exist, only about 4200 species of bacteria are described. The infant science of microbial systematics has only recently acquired the sophisticated tools required to assess this tremendous biodiversity. It is estimated that we know less than 1% of the microbial species on Earth.