[Taxacom] Moorea barcode project

Doug Yanega dyanega at ucr.edu
Wed Dec 12 12:02:35 CST 2007

Chris Thompson wrote:

>Yes, we need to take what we can get, be thankful, and then try our best
>to do it all.

I wasn't disputing that or implying otherwise - what I was 
questioning is whether, after hearing claims from all sorts of 
different biodiversity projects that promise to 
inventory/sample/database "all species" but then can't complete the 
arthropod portion of the project (about 90% or more of the actual 
biodiversity), won't funding agencies start looking with a jaundiced 
eye at future projects making similar promises, and either not fund 
them, or fund only those that do NOT include arthropods? Are we 
better served by promising more than we can deliver and doing the 
best we can (and falling short), or would we be better off being 
honest about the limitations, and then delivering exactly what was 
promised? We work just as hard, and get the same results in either 
case, but in the latter, those results are a better match to what we 
promised beforehand. Or is it true that we have to make big promises 
in order to get any funds at all?

My concern, as someone who works on arthropods, and is often involved 
in inventory and sampling projects, is that I'd like to see funding 
opportunities increase in frequency and magnitude, and see a lot more 
arthropod taxonomists being hired and supported (heck, the list of 
insect families occurring in North America which have no living 
taxonomists anywhere in the world is as long as your arm, and I'll 
bet it's worse for arachnids, percentage-wise). Which approach, 
realistically, is going to better advance the survival and growth of 
arthropod taxonomy? If one biodiversity project after another gets 
crippled by the arthropod taxonomic impediment, will that lead to 
MORE funding for arthropod taxonomy (to remove the impediment), or 
just drive people to bypass it altogether?


Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314        skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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