Silent Spring

Robert Mesibov mesibov at SOUTHCOM.COM.AU
Tue Jan 31 17:37:28 CST 2006

A bit over a year ago I published a paper,

Mesibov, R. 2004. Spare a thought for the losers. Australian Zoologist
32(4): 505-507,

which argued that since species were going extinct, we should salvage what
we could:

"I believe we should try to recover at least some of the specimens and
biogeographical information that will otherwise be irretrievably lost as
Australia continues to develop at the expense of its natural environment.
Salvage sampling is not unlike archaeological salvage, as carried out in
conjunction with roadworks and new building construction. The aim of
archeological salvage is not to find reasons to stop development, but simply
to recover or document elements of our historical heritage before they are
destroyed. The aim of zoological salvage is to recover or document elements
of our natural heritage before they disappear."

(For the context of this quote, you can email me to request a PDF of the
whole article.)

Reactions fell into 3 classes: (1) Good idea, but someone else should do it;
(2) I'm not a field person, are we really losing species?; and (3) How dare
you be so defeatist? Nobody actually responded with: "I agree, how can we
best do this?".

I mainly sample in agricultural landscapes in the state of Victoria,
Australia, salvaging non-flying, narrow-range litter invertebrates from tiny
remnants of native vegetation. In 2005 I found (and described and published)
a millipede which is down to its last 50 hectares. I honestly don't think it
has much of a future.
Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery
and School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
(03) 6437 1195

Tasmanian Multipedes
Spatial data basics for Tasmania

More information about the Taxacom mailing list