[Taxacom] EO Wilson Foundation

Donat Agosti agosti at amnh.org
Fri Jun 23 06:44:03 CDT 2006

Dear John and Chris

Details such as  the first BioBlitz. are important, especially in our world
where proper accreditation is part of our working ethics.

But I think the real issue is that foundation such as the proposed EO Wilson
Biodiversity Foundation or Conservation International's Center for Applied
Biodiversity Science are becoming a new element inbetween conservation and
systematics, with the ability to leverage huge multimillion dollar grants,
and with it becoming a funding agency in itslef for systematics. 

What I think is needed, is a system allowing us (the systematics community,
or at least those being able to collect and properly identify organisms or
species level biodiversity) to assess, whether such institutions deliver.
Such instruments are used, and often at great expense: Every NGO or museum
has an accounting department controlling the budget. Every NGO or museum has
a counselor to make sure, that all the legal affairs are resolved properly.
All the NGO's and museums do have a PR/Communications department to make
sure, that their institution gets the best possible coverage in the media,
and thus their donor.

But obviously, there is no controlling instrument for the scientific output
of such efforts as CI's TEAM, or even whether groups subscribing to such
initiatives as the Conservation Commons (http://conservationcommons.org)

However, we now have the chance to control: GBIF and related Web-based
initiatives. There, all the scientific output by the NGO's (eg identified
specimen records, land cover classifications, etc.) could be checked by
everybody, includig the funding agencies themselves. Tools exist to
visualize this data, to see whether things are within its range. It would
also allow enhance analysis, or make biodiversity the megascience it ought
to be.

I am afraid, if we do not start to control and become a player, our science
is once more the looser, Target2010 is again a failure, and thus
biodiversity - at least at the species level - is rather a milk-cow for few
big groups, rather than a decisive factor in politics or our daily lives.


Dr. Donat Agosti
Science Consultant
Research Associate, American Museum of Natural History and Naturmuseum der
Burgergemeinde Bern
Email: agosti at amnh.org
Web: http://antbase.org
Skype: agostileu
Blog: http://biodivcontext.blogspot.com/
CV: http://antbase.org/agosticv_2003.html
Dalmaziquai 45
3005 Bern
+41-31-351 7152


-----Original Message-----
From: John Grehan [mailto:jgrehan at sciencebuff.org] 
Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2006 4:17 PM
To: christian thompson; agosti at amnh.org; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: RE: [Taxacom] EO Wilson Foundation

I can see this sort of thing can involve a lot of political issues, not
least being that of representation. I took a look at the quote about the
first Bioblitz and was troubled, perhaps unnecessarily, with the
sentence "Bioblitz has taken off in Massachusetts and in a few other
locations" which seems to imply that nothing much significant has taken
place since outside Massachusetts, and yet I was involved in a major
state sponsored and organized BioBlitz in Pennsylvania in 1999, only a
year after the claimed first Bioblitz (which appears to be incorrect as
Christian pointed out). The Pennsylvania Biobliz at Fort Indian Town Gap
involved a very large number of taxonomic specialists from all over the
state. I also found it interesting that the Carnegie Museum of Natural
History was not listed among the early invited institutions even though
it instituted several very successful urban park Bioblitzes.

John Grehan 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-
> bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of christian thompson
> Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2006 7:52 AM
> To: agosti at amnh.org; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] EO Wilson Foundation
> Thanks, Donat:
> Typical of EO Wilson today.
> Notice how Wilson claims that he and Peter Alden "created the FIRST
> BioBlitz at Walden Pond in Connecticut on July 4, 1998 ..."
> Two errors: The first BioBlitz was done in Washington DC on 31 May
> and Walden Pond is in Massachusetts.
> At least he does not claim create for the Encyclopedia of Life, which
> arose from the ALL SPECIES foundation.
> Oh, well ...
> F. Christian Thompson
> Systematic Entomology Lab., USDA
> c/o Smithsonian Institution
> MRC-0169 NHB
> PO Box 37012
> Washington, DC 20013-7012
> (202) 382-1800 voice
> (202) 786-9422 FAX
> cthompso at sel.barc.usda.gov e-mail
> www.diptera.org  web site
> _______________________________________________
> Taxacom mailing list
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom

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