[Taxacom] species loss: 20 years after Rio

Scott L. Gardner slg at unl.edu
Wed Apr 25 23:53:36 CDT 2012


And the NSF has just cut funding to the Collections Support for 
Biological Research by 1/2 starting now, and what does that show for 
where our science is heading when our NSF goes backwards on what we have 
been working toward in museums and global biodiversity surveys. There 
have been a few responses from the collections community, but not much 
to speak of.  -Scott

On 4/25/2012 10:07 PM, Donat Agosti wrote:
> The Hubbell paper made it into BBC.  It is sad to see where we stand after
> 20 years. We have done more work, we developed an impressive array if
> biodiversity informatics, we have tools to capture specimens in our
> collections and make the data accessible, but the basic we are missing: A
> strategy to explore the living planet, and even less a strategy to measure
> the change of species based at least on a basic count of what's out there.
>
>
>
> May be we should give up this challenge and return to our ivory tower to
> describe yet another exciting new life form that makes it into the main
> media rather than get our acts together and act as a global observatory,
> that is all our many research institutions (herbaria, natural history
> collections, etc. and its main funders, the government) get together to
> rethink on how to react to this grand challenge as a consortium.
>
>
>
>
>
> Donat
>
>
>
>
>
> Biodiversity loss: How accurate are the numbers?
>
> http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17826898
>
>
>
> "Twenty years ago, the Earth Summit in Rio resulted in a Convention on
> Biological Diversity, now signed by 193 nations, to prevent species loss.
> But can we tell how many species are becoming extinct?
>
> One statement on the Convention's website claims: "We are indeed
> experiencing the greatest wave of extinction since the disappearance of the
> dinosaurs."
>
> While that may (or may not) be true, the next sentence is spuriously
> precise: "Every hour three species disappear. Every day up to 150 species
> are lost."
>
> Even putting aside the apparent mathematical error in that claim (on the
> face of it, if three species are disappearing every hour, 72 would be lost
> every day) there is an obvious problem in generating any such number. No-one
> knows how many species exist. And if we don't know a species exists, we
> won't miss it when it's gone.
>
> (.)
>
> It is possible to count the number of species known to be extinct. The
> International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) does just that. It has
> listed 801 animal and plant species (mostly animal) known to have gone
> extinct since 1500.
>
> But if it's really true that up to 150 species are being lost every day,
> shouldn't we expect to be able to name more than 801 extinct species in 512
> years?
>
> (.)
>
>
>
> According to IUCN data, for example, only one animal has been definitely
> identified as having gone extinct since 2000. It was a mollusc.
>
>
>
> "
>
> _______________________________________________
>
> Taxacom Mailing List
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
>
> The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with either of these methods:
>
> (1) by visiting http://taxacom.markmail.org
>
> (2) a Google search specified as:  site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom  your search terms here
>

-- 
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Scott Lyell Gardner, Ph.D.
Curator and Professor
Harold W. Manter Laboratory of Parasitology
W-529 Nebraska Hall
University of Nebraska State Museum and
School of Biological Sciences
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Lincoln, Nebraska 68588-0514

e-mail:   slg at unl.edu
Web:      http://hwml.unl.edu
ASP Page: http://asp.unl.edu

Phone:    402-472-3334
Fax:      402-472-8949
Cell:     402-540-9310

"What made you pull my tail?" - Darwin

"If we don't work to describe and conserve biodiversity now,
our descendants will be very upset."  -slg

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*




More information about the Taxacom mailing list