Rod Seppelt rod_sep at ANTDIV.GOV.AU
Mon May 11 08:19:56 CDT 1998

Robin Leech wrote:
"I believe that Australia and New Zealand also want types from the
respective countries deposited in museums in those countries.  And, I
believe that they are pressuring for types collected over the years to be
redesposited in the home country."

Indeed, this is the case.

My remaining comments are not directed specifically at Robin, but the world
at large.

Around about the 1750's to late 1800's there were many exploring
expeditions to the southern regions of the world.
>From these expeditions extensive collections were often made, resulting in
the description of many new taxa.

Times have changed and now there is an ever increasing pool of taxonomic
researchers in southern hemisphere countries.

As a botanist and one of them, may I say that I make no apology what so
ever for the policies of Australia and New Zealand in requiring types to be
lodged in collections in the respective countries.

I believe that the Government of Madagascar requires a duplicate set of
material to be lodged in a Museum in that country before any material is
removed.  I applaud this stance as well.

There are a good number of researchers in a good many countries who take
considerable offence at "foreign" researchers harvesting their floras and
faunas and fossil material.  Many of us believe that there is no place for
bucket collectors.

Likewise, there is little benefit to the country or its researchers if the
types are located in an institution (obscure, highly visible, difficult to
get access to, easy to borrow) a half a world away.

Most plant collections probably travel reasonably well in the post.  But,
as a botanist, I dread the thought of trying to mail mounted insect
collections.  That they ever arrive at the destination and back at the host
institution in one piece would have to be one of the wonders of this world.

I agree, a Museum hop is probably the way to go.  But, one does get used to
the familiarity of one's own microscopes and facilities.  And how many
people, despite the obvious benefits of seeing the larger collection,
visiting and meeting other people, actually get funding to visit far off

I am not sure that, other than for a preliminary look, I could or would
rely on a web page photograph in a revision.  As a preliminary look I
applaud the benefits of such access.  I hope the many institutions around
the world have the resources to do this.

Rod Seppelt

Dr. Rodney D. Seppelt
Principal Research Scientist
Australian Antarctic Division
Channel Highway
Kingston 7050, Tasmania, Australia

phone:  International:  +61 (03) 62 323 438
        FAX          :  +61 (03) 62 323 449

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