[Taxacom] Funding biodiversity?

Kenneth Kinman kennethkinman at webtv.net
Fri Jan 28 11:50:16 CST 2011

Hi Cristian, 
         Well, I have respect for the work that has
been done at Isle Royale as well.  However, I think there are now far
more pressing ecological and conservation issues (as well as discovering
new taxa elsewhere before it is too late). Moose and wolves are hardly
in danger of extinction, and the U.S. government seems to pour a
relatively large amount of money studying and managing wolves. I'm sure
it dwarfs the amount spent on saving an endangered species like the
black-footed ferret. 
        And remember that these wolves and moose on Isle
Royale are badly inbred, so one needs to take the results of such
studies with a grain of salt.  Is the arthritis problem in their moose
population mainly caused by malnutrition---maybe or maybe not. It may be
more a result of inbreeding.        
          And the wolves are even more inbred, and I
was very concerned upon hearing discussions a few years ago debating
whether more wolves should be introduced on Isle Royale. Anyway, I think
NSF money would be better spent on endangered species and documenting
undiscovered species. If Earthwatch and other organizations want to keep
funding wolf and moose research, that's great.  But it seems to me NSF
should concentrate on more pressing issues.  The same goes for expensive
dinosaur preparation and study.  Collect and store fossils in danger of
being lost, but preparation and study can wait (or be funded by
non-governmental organizations).  
cruizaltaba at dgmambie.caib.es(Cristian Ruiz Altaba) wrote: 
Well, I do feel an enormous respect for the long-term ecological
research at Isle Royale. I do think that there are big benefits from
such detailed monitoring of a "complete" ecosystem. The arthritis story
being a spin-off. 
This, in a sense, is akin to the CERN for physicists --a large,
long-lasting, all-encompassing project that overflows with data, ideas,
new approaches... 
If physics has been so highly successful at getting big money, and not
for military uses, then why does biodiversity linger so way behind?   
My view: 'cause we ain't the brains nor the guts.  My second thought:
and when someone gets unusual money for biodiversity, it often is at the
very expense and against the interests of serious biodiversity research
--the "marine biodiversity" stuff mentioned in this thread, of the
"killer caulerpa" grants... All too often, such money is paid in
exchange for criminal silence. I mean the mechanism by which a
biodiversity expert gets money in order to downspeak, dismiss or
counterfait legitimate, truthful information on environmental issues
having relevant conservation and political implications.   
It's not the moose's fault. It's all about vandalism in taxonomy
and piracy in ecology, along with the unexplicable ostrich-like
behavior of most biodiversity workers. 
Cristian R. Altaba
DG Biodiversitat
Conselleria de Medi Ambient
Govern de les Illes Balears 

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