[Taxacom] De-extinction & Rhachistia aldabrae

Doug Yanega dyanega at ucr.edu
Wed Oct 22 20:24:11 CDT 2014

The quality of "citizen science" varies considerably from country to 
country, as does the science-based infrastructure that supports it. The 
UK is probably at the proverbial head of the class in almost every 
parameter you could name, with a long tradition of encouraging 
naturalists among the public, and getting them involved in doing 
science. In the US, I believe that we are seeing growing numbers of 
interested amateurs, especially through social media, but we are 
definitely not supplying them with adequate tools; there is no 
comparison between a field guide that shows every species, and one that 
only shows a few exemplars from each family. This leads to a common and 
very problematic phenomenon where images posted online get tagged with 
the wrong names, based on the assumption that everything is whatever 
common species is most familiar to people; once an image is 
misidentified, it contaminates the Google searches and propagates the 
misidentifications. Our best online resources (like BugGuide) are 
supported by purely volunteer efforts by small numbers of specialists, 
and simply not sufficient to cover such a large area with such a diverse 
fauna. Nonetheless, even in the US, social media that engage citizen 
scientists can help make new discoveries, including detection and 
tracking of invasive species, something for which there are numerous 
published examples.


Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology       Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314     skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (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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