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We wish that B. A. Minteer et al. 's claim that field biologists routinely collect voucher specimens were true [“Avoiding (re)extinction,” Perspectives, 18 April, p. [260][1]]. Any museum curator will tell you that it is a constant struggle to convince them to do so, despite countless
23 MAY 2014 • VOL 344 ISSUE 6186 815SCIENCE
and understood. Specimens from such
collections and their associated data are
essential for making informed decisions
about management and conservation now
and in the future. As a community, we
advocate the utmost responsibility and
care while making scientific collections
(4). Furthermore, given increasing rates
of habitat loss and global change, we
believe that responsibly collecting voucher
specimens and associated data and openly
sharing this knowledge (for example,
through GBIF, iDigBio, and VertNet) are
more necessary today than ever before.
L. A. Rocha,1* A. Aleixo,2 G. Allen,3 F.
Almeda,1 C. C. Baldwin,4 M. V. L. Barclay,5
J. M. Bates,6 A. M. Bauer,7 F. Benzoni,8
C. M. Berns,9 M. L. Berumen,10 D. C.
Blackburn,1 S. Blum,1 F. Bolaños,11 R.
C. K. Bowie,12 R. Britz,5 R. M. Brown,13
C. D. Cadena,14 K. Carpenter,15 L. M.
Ceríaco,16 P. Chakrabarty,17 G. Chaves,11
J. H. Choat,18 K. D. Clements,19 B. B.
Collette,20 A. Collins,20 J. Coyne,21 J.
Cracraft,22 T. Daniel,1 M. R. de Carvalho,23
K. de Queiroz,4 F. Di Dario,24 R. Drewes,1
J. P. Dumbacher,1 A. Engilis Jr.,25 M.
V. Erdmann,26 W. Eschmeyer,1 C. R.
Feldman,27 B. L. Fisher,1 J. Fjeldså,28 P.
W. Fritsch,1 J. F uchs, 29 A. Getahun,30 A.
Gill,31 M. Gomon,32 T. Gosliner,1 G. R.
Graves,4 C. E. Gr iswold,1 R. Guralnick,33
K. Hartel,34 K. M. Helgen,4 H. Ho, 35 D. T.
Iskandar,36 T. Iwamoto,1 Z. Jaafar,4,37 H.
F. James,4 D. Johnson,4 D. Kavanaugh,1
N. Knowlton,4 E. Lacey,12 H. K. Larson,38
P. La st ,39 J. M. Leis,40 H. Lessios,41 J.
Liebherr,42 M. Lowman,1 D. L. Mahler,25
V. Mamonekene,43 K. Matsuura,44 G. C.
Maye r,45 H. Mays Jr.,46 J. McCosker,1
R. W. McDiarmid,4 J. M cGuir e,12 M. J.
Miller,41 R. Mooi,1 R. D. Mooi,47 C. Moritz,48
P. My er s, 49 M. W. Nachman,12 R. A.
Nussbaum,49 D. Ó Foighil,49 L. R. Parenti,4
J. F. Parham,50 E. Pau l,51 G. Paulay,52 J.
Pérez-Emán,53 A. Pérez-Matus,54 S. Poe,55
J. Pogonoski,39 D. L. Rabosky,49 J. E .
Randall,56 J. D. Reimer,57 D. R. Robertson,41
M.-O. Rödel,58 M. T. Rodrigues,23 P.
Roopnarine,1 L. Rüber,59 M. J. Ryan,55 F.
Sheldon,17 G. Shinohara,44 A. Short,13 W.
B. Simison,1 W. F. Smith-Vaniz,52 V. G.
Springer, 4 M. Stiassny,22 J. G. Tello,22,60 C.
W. Thompson,49 T. Trn sk i,61 P. Tu ck e r,49
T. Valqui,62 M. Vecchione,20 E. Verheyen,63
P. C. Wainwright,25 T. A. Wheeler,64 W.
T. White,39 K. Will,12 J. T. Williams,4 G.
Williams,1 E. O. Wilson,34 K. Wi nke r,65 R.
Winterbottom,66 C. C. Witt55
1California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, CA
94118, USA. 2Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, Belém,
PA, 66040 -170, Brazil. 3Western Australian Museum,
Perth, WA, 6986, Aust ralia. 4Smithsonian Institution,
Washin gton, DC 20 560, USA. 5Natural History
Museu m, London, SW 7 5BD, UK. 6Field Museum of
Natural History, Chicago, IL 60605, USA. 7Villanova
University, Villanova, PA 19085, USA. 8University of
Milano-Bicocca, Milan, 20126, Italy. 9Utica College,
Utica , NY 13502, USA. 10 King Abdullah University
of Science and Technology, Thuwal, 23955, Saudi
Arabia. 11Universidad de Costa Rica, San José,
11501-2060, Costa Rica. 12University of California,
Berkeley, CA 94720–3161, USA. 13University of
Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, USA. 14Universidad de
los Andes, Bogotá, 4976, Colombia. 15Old Dominion
University, Norfolk, VA 23529, USA. 16Museu Nacional
de História Natural e da Ciência, Lisbon, 7005-
638, Portugal. 17Louisiana State University, Baton
Rouge, LA 7 0803, USA. 18James Cook University,
Townsville, 4811, Australia. 19University of Auckland,
Auckland, 1142, New Zealand. 20NOAA Systematics
Labo ratory, Washing ton, DC 200 13, USA. 21University
of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA. 22American
Museum of Natural History, New York, NY 10024,
USA. 23Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP,
05508-090, Brazil. 24Universidade Federal do Rio de
Janeiro, Macaé, RJ, 27965-045, Brazil. 25University
of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA. 26Conservation
International, Denpasar, Bali, 80235, Indonesia.
27University of Nevada, Reno, NV 89557–0314, USA.
28Natural History Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen,
DK-2100, Denmark. 29Muséum National d’Histoire
Naturelle, Paris, 75005, France. 30Addis Ababa
University, Addis Ababa, 1176, Ethiopia. 31University
of Sydn ey, Sydney, NSW, 2006, Austra lia. 32Museum
Victoria, Melbourne, 3001, VIC, Australia. 33University
of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309–0334, USA.
34Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.
35National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium,
Pingtung, 944, Taiwan. 36Institut Teknologi Bandung,
Bandung, 40132, Indonesia. 37National University
of Singapore, 117543, Singapore. 38Museum and Art
Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, 0820, NT,
Australia. 39CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric Research,
Hobart, TAS, 7000, Australia. 40Australian Museum,
Sydney, NSW, 2010, Aus tralia. 41Smithsonian
Tropical Research Institute, Balboa, 0843-03092,
Panamá. 42Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.
43Université Marien Ngouabi, Brazzaville, B.P. 69,
Republic of Congo. 44National Museum of Nature
and Science, Tsukuba, 305-0005, Japan. 45University
of Wisconsin-Parkside, Kenosha, WI 53141–2000,
USA. 46Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati, OH
45203, US A. 47The Manitoba Museum, Winnipeg,
MB, R3B 0N2, Canada. 48Australian National
University, Canberra, ACT, 0200, Australia.
49University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109–1079,
USA. 50California State University, Fullerton, CA
92831, USA. 51The Ornithological Council, Chevy
Chase, MD 20815, USA. 52University of Florida,
Gainesville, FL 32611, USA. 53Universidad Central
de Venezuela, Caracas, 1041, Venezuela. 54Ponti cia
Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago 6513677,
Chile. 55University of New Mexico, Albuquerque,
NM 871 31–0001, USA . 56Bernice P. Bishop
Museum, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA. 57University
of the Ryukyus, Nishihara, 903-0213, Japan.
58Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, 10115, Germany.
59Naturhistorisches Museum der Burgergemeinde
Bern, Bern, CH-3005, Switzerland. 60Long Island
University, Brooklyn, NY 11201–8423, USA.
61Auckland Museum, Auckland, 1142, New Zealand.
62Centro de Ornitologia y Biodiversidad, Lima, 33,
Peru. 63Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences,
Brussels, 1000, Belgium. 64McGill University,
Montreal, QC, H9X 3V9, Canada. 65University of
Alas ka Museum , Fairb anks, AK 99775, US A. 66Royal
Ontario Museum, Toronto, ON, M5S 2C6, Canada.
*Corresponding author. E-mail: LRocha@
1. E. Fulle r, The Great Auk (H. N. Abrams, New York, 1999).
2. J. P. Hume, M. Walte rs, Extinction in Birds (Bloomsbury,
London, 2012).
3. N. J. Coll ar, Bird Cons. Int. 10, 1 (2000).
4. K. Winker et al., Auk 127, 690 (2010).
5. T. L. Cheng , S. M. Rovit o, D. B. Wake, V. T. Vredenbu rg, Proc.
Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 108, 9502 (2011).
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Heinsohn, Trends Ecol. Evol. 26, 285 (2011).
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(Wiley, Cambridge, UK, 2013).
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for Conservation – the first 20 years of the Rapid
Assessment Program, L. E. Alonso, J. L. D eichm ann, S. A.
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PLOS B iol. 9, e1001127 (2011).
Specimen collection:
Plan for the future
WE WISH THAT B. A. Minteer et al.’s claim
that field biologists routinely collect
voucher specimens were true [“Avoiding
(re)extinction,” Perspectives, 18 April,
p. 260]. Any museum curator will tell you
that it is a constant struggle to convince
them to do so, despite countless publications
rendered unreliable because it is impossible
to verify species’ identities. The necessity
of voucher specimens varies by taxon and
region, but in general, it is good practice to
deposit them and as much data as possible,
including DNA and photos in life.
We certainly do not wish to see any
species driven to extinction by overcollect-
ing, but submit that this is rare and more
associated with commercial or ardent,
recreational overcollecting than sensible
scientific vouchering (1, 2). If the kill of
a single individual increases the extinc-
tion risk of a species, then it is well below
viable population size and already among
the “walking dead.
Dawkins’ description of evolution
as improbability on a colossal scale is
nowhere more evident than in morphol-
ogy. Whether or not a species survives,
museum specimens represent a window
on many of its most remarkable novel-
ties. Molecular data, although helpful in
identifications, is neither a panacea nor
surrogate for museum specimens, espe-
cially when it comes to newly discovered
species. Describing a new species without
depositing a holotype when a specimen
can be preserved borders on taxonomic
malpractice. Even given good photographs
and a tissue sample, there are reasons to
collect one or more complete specimens.
We do not know what morphological
characters will prove important in future
studies of species status, phylogenetic
Published by AAAS
816 23 MAY 2014 • VOL 344 ISSUE 6186 SCIENCE
relationships, or genetic or epigenetic
variation. As taxonomists and ecologists,
we do not want to know only that a spe-
cies exists but to understand what makes
it unique compared to related species.
Given the importance of the phenotype-
environment interface in natural selection,
we potentially sacrifice the most impor-
tant things to know about a species when
we forego more than superficial evidence
of anatomical details.
With millions of species threatened by
extinction, it would be tragic were we left
with no more than a few photographs and
sequences as evidence they were once here.
Given well-preserved specimens, we can
continue to marvel at adaptations, discover
models for biomimicry, refine theories of
character transformations, and verify the
state of internal or external structures
discovered in related species. As the last
generation with the opportunity to explore,
discover, and document millions of species
evolved over billions of years, we should
not be so arrogant as to assume what sci-
ence of the future may want or need.
Frank-T. Krell1 and Quentin D. Wheeler2
1Department of Zoology, Denver Museum of Nature
& Science, Denver, CO 80205, USA. 2College
of Environmental Science and Forestry, State
University of New York, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA.
*Corresponding author. E-mail:
1. D. A. Norton et al., Tax on 43, 181 (1994).
2. K. Winker et al., Auk 127, 690 (2010).
THE PURPOSE OF OUR Perspective was
to raise awareness about an issue that
will increase in prevalence as the global
biodiversity crisis unfolds: Absent a
reliable estimate of population size, is
it prudent and ethical to collect a newly
observed individual of a species so rare it
was thought extinct [e.g., (1)]? We sup-
port the work of natural history museums,
and nowhere in our discussion did we
argue that responsible collecting should
be halted. Specimen collections provide
invaluable contributions to many dis-
ciplines beyond taxonomy [e.g., (2, 3)];
moreover, we continue to collect ourselves
(J.P.C. and R.P.). We repeatedly emphasized
that we were targeting the specific context
of small and vulnerable populations only.
We would like to believe that we live in
Rocha et al.’s world in which the respon-
sible collector follows every regulation and
ethical code (where these exist). Our own
experience and research, however, paint
a more complicated picture. A culture of
responsible scientific practice is harder to
establish than just following regulatory
prescriptions and ethical injunctions (4).
Rocha et al. also introduce a red herring by
raising the distinction between individual-
and population- or species-level concern
in conservation, which we understand
and have discussed elsewhere (5). It is
obvious that our Perspective concerns
survival of populations and species; the
individual specimen becomes important in
our argument because of the small size of
populations, especially when (as in the case
of rediscovered amphibian populations)
such individuals are found coexisting with
the lethal pathogen that likely greatly
reduced their numbers (6).
Nowhere do we claim that scientific
collection is a leading driver of extinction.
We are aware of the major threats posed by
habitat loss and fragmentation, commer-
cial use, exotic species, toxins, infectious
diseases, and climate change (7). Collectors
may have taken the last Auks, but the spe-
cies was pushed to the brink of extinction
by centuries of human overexploitation.
Still, the point remains that without a reli-
able estimate of population size, collecting
individuals from a small, isolated popula-
tion can pose an extinction risk. We believe
that it is important to highlight this risk,
and to suggest how to mitigate the threat.
We are troubled by Krell and Wheeler’s
argument, which seems to suggest that col-
lecting in vulnerable populations is justified
as a way to preserve the present for a future
in which many species will be extinct. Even
small populations seem eligible for collect-
ing based on their claim that such species
are already among the “walking dead.” If
collecting a specimen increases extinction
risk, however, then it is a threat to biodi-
versity and should be avoided. Krell and
Wheeler object to the “arrogance” of assum-
ing “what science of the future may want
or need,” but we find more hubris in their
suggestion that taxonomists and ecologists
should be unconcerned about driving the
final nail in a species’ coffin.
Cultural change in science can be dif-
ficult. Long-established techniques are
questioned as alternatives arise. Specimen
collection is no exception, especially in
light of growing concerns about our enter-
ing a sixth mass extinction event (8), and
we encourage more research into new
ways to document Earth’s biodiversity.
A precautionary approach to scientific
collection will help ensure that we do not
put additional pressure on already vulner-
able populations as we seek to identify
organisms new to science, or to confirm a
species’ welcome return from the dead.
Ben A. Minteer,1* James P. Collins,1
Robert Puschendorf 2
1School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University,
Tempe, AZ 85287, USA. 2School of Biological
Sciences, Plymouth University, Drake Circus,
Plymouth, Devon PL4 8AA, UK.
*Corresponding author. E-mail:
1. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Craugastor
fleischmanni ( /56603/0).
2. C. Moritz et al., Science 322, 261 (2008).
3. R. Puschendorf, F. Bolaños, G. Chaves, Biol. Conserv. 132,
136 (2006).
4. B. A. Mint eer, J. P. Col lins, Sci. Eng. Ethics 14, 483 (2008).
5. B. A. Min teer, J. P. Collins, I LAR J. 54, 41 (2013).
6. M. J. Ryan, F. Bol años, G. C haves, Sci ence (2010);
published online:
59 9 7/1 2 72 /r e pl y.
7. J. P. Collin s, M. Cr ump, Extinction in Our Times: Global
Amphibian Decline (Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, 2009).
8. E. Kolb ert, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
(Henry Holt, New York, 2014).
Editor’s note: We are simplifying our proce-
dure for making corrections to articles pub-
lished in Science, while maintaining transpar-
ency for our readers. The full text and PDF
les will be corrected online as soon as pos-
sible, with an explanation at the end of the
full text and, for corrections involving data or
metadata, in an accompanying online Erra-
tum. A notifi cation that an Erratum has been
published online will appear in a subsequent
print issue in this space.
Erratum for the Research Article: “Total
Synthesis of a Functional Designer Eukaryotic
Chromosome” by N. Annaluru et al., Science
344, 1254596 (2014). Published online 18 April;
Erratum for the Report: “Wild Pollinators
Enhance Fruit Set of Crops Regardless of
Honey Bee Abundance” by L. A. Garibaldi et al.,
Science 344, 1255213 (2014). Published online 2
May; 10.1126/science.1255213
Erratum for the News & Analysis: “Designer
Microbes Expand Life’s Genetic Alphabet”
by R. F. Service, Science 344, 1255780
(2014). Published online 16 May; 10.1126/
Erratum for the Report: “I-Love-Q: Unexpected
Universal Relations for Neutron Stars and
Quark Stars” by K. Yagi and N. Yunes, Science
344, 1250349 (2014). Published online 23 May;
Erratum for the Report: “Mapping the
Cellular Response to Small Molecules Using
Chemogenomic Fitness Signatures” by A. Y. Lee
et al., Science 344, 1255771 (2014). Published
online 23 May; 10.1126/science.1255771
Published by AAAS
... We agree that it may be impossible to define a general policy or guideline as to what defines reasonable collecting, i.e., collecting 10 adult specimens of any given population of Alopoglossus may seem reasonable, but collecting 10 mature specimens of Eunectes murinus will likely impact the population (and cause a massive headache to any curator in charge of storing these specimens). Nonetheless, we generally concur with several colleagues that have explicitly expressed that the collection of biological specimens is, and will continue to be, an essential tool for most areas of biology, especially taxonomy (Culley, 2013;Krell and Wheeler, 2016;Rocha et al., 2016). ...
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Alopoglossidae is a family of Neotropical lizards composed of 22 species allocated in two genera (Alopoglossus and Ptychoglossus). There is a lack of knowledge about the phylogenetic relationships and systematics of this family. Published phylogenies that include alopoglossid species had the objective to generate a hypothesis of the relationships on major groups (i.e., Gymnophthalmoidea), therefore they have very low taxon coverage within the family, and are usually based on limited character sampling. Considering these limitations, this thesis aimed to infer the phylogenetic relationship of Alopoglossidae—including all species in the family—based on combined analyses of DNA sequences and morphological characters. The genes used were the mitochondrial (12S, 16S and ND4), the nuclear (C-mos) and a matrix of 143 phenotypic characters from scutelation, tongue morphology, hemipenis morphology, and osteology. The data was analyzed by Maximum Parsimony optimality criteria, performing three alternative weighting schemes under Extended Implied Weighting and an equal weighting search. The generated topologies were compared in a sensitivity analysis. The preferred topology shows the paraphyly of the Ptychoglossus genera. Ptychoglossus vallensis and Ptychoglossus billineatus nearly related to the Alopoglossus clade, the Central American species Ptychoglossus plicatus and Ptychoglossus myersi as the sister clade of Ptychoglossus and Alopoglossus, and last Ptychoglossus danieli and Ptychoglossus kugleri were recovered as the sister group of all others alopoglossids. In consequence, was decided that Ptychoglossus is a junior synonym of Alopoglossus. Also, it is described the more recently discovered Alopoglossus species, from the pacific region of Colombia. The paper was already published at South American Journal of Herpetology (IF 0.837, Qualis = B2).
... (Naskrecki 2014;Boroff 2015;Filardi 2015;Silber 2015). Scientists have long been polarized about the use of voucher specimens (Funk et al., 2018;Marshall & Evenhuis, 2015) The suggestion that alternative methods of identification should be used in relation to threatened or rediscovered species (Minteer et al., 2014) proved controversial and elicited strong response in support of voucher specimens (Krell & Wheeler, 2014;Rocha et al., 2014). Digital photography, geolocation, open access databases and widespread internet access are enabling wider engagement with the process of collecting and curating primary biodiversity data and pushing access beyond that of professional academic researchers. ...
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Traditional methods of species identification involve the collection and killing of specimens. The associated costs and expertise required are prohibitory. In this paper we describe the first documented record of Heterosphecia tawonoides in its natural habitat in Sumatra since 1887, reporting its identification using photographs uploaded to the citizen science platform iNaturalist. Our findings add valuable information to the small body of work on this species and demonstrate the importance of having freely available high-quality tools such as iNaturalist without which this important record would not have been reported and the observation of this rarely seen moth species in Sumatra would have remained unknown. Metode identifikasi spesies tradisional melibatkan pengumpulan dan pembunuhan spesimen. Biaya terkait dan keahlian yang dibutuhkan adalah berupa larangan. Dalam artikel ini kami menjelaskan catatan pertama yang terdokumentasikan dari Heterosphecia tawonoides di habitat alaminya di Sumatera sejak 1887, melaporkan identifikasinya menggunakan foto yang diunggah ke platform ilmiah iNaturalist. Temuan kami menambah informasi berharga untuk sejumlah kecil pekerjaan pada spesies ini dan menunjukkan pentingnya memiliki alat berkualitas tinggi yang tersedia secara gratis seperti iNaturalist, tanpanya catatan penting ini tidak akan dilaporkan dan pengamatan spesies ngengat yang jarang terlihat ini di Sumatera akan tetap tidak diketahui. ABSTRAK
... Complementariamente, gran parte del conocimiento de la fauna de peces de agua dulce de Colombia proviene de colecciones nacionales e internacionales (Donascimiento et al., 2017). Estas colecciones, además, contribuyen enormemente en la descripción de los patrones ecológicos y evolutivos (Krishtalka y Humphrey, 2000;Krell y Wheeler, 2014). Por ello, la digitalización de la información de los especímenes almacenados en las colecciones biológicas toma cada vez mayor relevancia (Drew et al., 2017) y resulta crucial para la investigación, conservación y gestión de la biodiversidad a escala regional, nacional y mundial (Rocha et al., 2014;Rees, 2017). ...
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Objetivos: actualizar, sistematizar y evaluar el estado de la Colección de Peces (Ictiología) del Museo de Historia Natural de la Universidad de Caldas (MHN-UCa). Alcance: identificar fortalezas y debilidades en el proceso de curaduría de la colección para evitar su deterioro y garantizar su permanencia. Metodología: en primer lugar, se revisaron 467 lotes de peces, la información de los ejemplares se ordenó y sistematizó según los estándares de Darwin Core. Además, se calculó el Índice de Salud de la Colección (ISC) para 467 lotes y, por último, se realizó una revisión bibliográfica con el fin de identificar artículos que citaran ejemplares depositados en la colección. Principales resultados: la colección está constituida por 756 individuos, agrupados en 467 lotes, distribuidos en 8 órdenes, 30 familias, 66 géneros y 86 especies. El orden más representativo fue Characiformes con 187 registros y 37 especies. En su mayoría, los registros provienen de los departamentos de Cesar (219) y Caldas (141), sin embargo, hay algunos registros de los departamentos de Amazonas, Antioquia, Arauca, Atlántico, Cundinamarca, Meta, Putumayo, Risaralda y Tolima. El resultado del ISC final realizado en 2022 fue del 80,93%, lo que indica que la colección cuenta con buenas condiciones de almacenamiento e identificación de los especímenes ingresados. Conclusiones: actualmente la colección de peces del MHN-UCa se encuentra en buen estado, no obstante, es importante promover la recolección y conservación de ejemplares de peces dulceacuícolas en la colección, además de incentivar la investigación y publicación de resultados que hayan empleado los ejemplares depositados en el MHN-UCa.
... The case has never been made for insects, and Marshall and Evenhuis (2015) themselves agree that such a case would be difficult to make. Whether the cases illustrated by Minteer et al. (2014) even represent the issue was called into question by Krell and Wheeler (2014), but this is beyond the scope of our paper. Löbl et al. (2016) suggested publishing information about the existence of a new species without naming it. ...
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A heated debate on whether a new species should be described without a physical specimen, i.e., by designating a photographed specimen to serve as a holotype, has been ongoing for a long time. Herewith, without nomenclatural actions, a new species of the Batrachidein pygmy grasshoppers belonging to the genus Scaria Bolívar, 1887 is identified from the Andean rainforest in Peru. This species is clearly different from all its congeners by morphology and coloration. Two individuals of this peculiar species are known only from the photographs found on iNaturalist. The species has not been observed since 2008 when the photographs were taken. A short historical overview of the topic is given, illustrating the pros and cons of photograph-based species description. The concepts of names, holotypes, research effort, and conservation are discussed and related to the problem at hand. The current state of the taxonomic community's beliefs regarding this issue is reflected by the authors' three unsuccessful attempts to name this new species.
... In many cases, these facilities are in a serious danger of permanent shutdown. Problems due to the lack of funding including basic house-keeping budget, potential employment of new taxonomists, and bureaucracy in the processing of collecting permits are well discussed by Britz et al. (2020), whereas planning, usage, datamining and organization future specimen collections is found in Krell and Wheeler (2014). ...
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As taxonomists who have embraced the amalgamation of traditional and modern research techniques, we have witnessed dramatic changes and the gradual disappearance of one of the oldest disciplines in biological science, that is, taxonomy and the associated application of nomenclature. In this note we address some of the causes and effects behind reductionism and the ensuing curricular changes affecting research, education and training in taxonomy in major academic institutions. Over the last few years scientific specialization has had an unprecedent impact in society enabling biological research progress primarily due to the implementation of technological innovation, raising employment and economic development. As a result, the resolutions in scientific and educational institutions have been adjusted accordingly. The field of botany, in particular, has undergone significant changes. Botany has been influenced by shifts in the approach to the scientific method, to the extent that this traditional field of studies has been increasingly replaced in universities and research institutes by broader meaning labels, such as of “Plant Biology” and “Integrative Biology.” In fact, several claims regarding the vanishing of taxonomic research have been made, from the lack of funding (Ebach and Holdrege 2005; Guerra García et al. 2008), training of new personnel (Drew 2011; Britz et al. 2020), denying recognition (Dar et al. 2012; Wheeler 2014), and reductionism (Crisci 2008; Crisci et al. 2020).
... It is very important, because museums with collections and data they represent provide entrance into the history and inform about the present (Cavarzere et al. 2017;Arbelaez-Cortes et al. 2017;Lacey et al. 2017;Hope et al. 2018;Dowler 2019). Moreover, they can help to predict the future of natural habitats and human-altered environments and then predict changes in biodiversity (Kress, 2014;Minteer et al. 2014;Rocha et al. 2014;Krell & Wheeler 2014;Holmes et al. 2016). Kemp et al. (2015) showed that three-quarters of newly named mammalian species are already part of natural history collections. ...
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The Natural History Department of the Šariš Museum, Bardejov, Slovakia, was established in 1956 by PhMr. Tibor Weisz. The mammal collection consists of more than 5 000 specimens of 67 mammal species of the Slovakian fauna. The museum mostly represents the fauna of northeastern Slovakia, i.e. the transition area between the Eastern and Western Carpathians and adjacent to the northernmost part of the Pannonian Basin. In the paper, data are presented on hare and rabbit specimens deposited in the collection of the Šariš Museum in Bardejov (SMB), Slovakia. In total, data were evaluated on 27 specimens of the brown hare (Lepus europaeus) from twelve sites of Slovakia (n = 19), one site of Czech Silesia (n = 1), and from unknow localities (n = 7). Individuals were acquired in 1958-1971, but mainly in 1965-1966 (n = 19, 70.4 %). Among them, one specimen had signs of "albinism" and was collected from Zlaté village. The collection also includes a skull of a brown hare with anomalous dentition. Similarly, two skulls of the mountain hare (Lepus timidus) obtained from the Danish preparator N. H. Gustaffson were evaluated. Three rabit specimens were also found in the collection, including two skulls of the wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and a skin-mount and skull of a domestic rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus forma domestica). The collection contains 20 adult specimens (15 males and 5 females) with body size values recorded in the protocol cards. Mammalogical collections in the Šariš Museum in Bardejov represent an outstanding scientific time capsule. All stored specimens in this particular and other similar collections, including those in local museums, will largely be needed and used as datasets by ecologists and conservationists in the future. It is necesary to preserve the collections, to computerise and digitise their inventories and the wealth of information they represent. At present, most of these data are not accessible electronically or online. Therefore, such collections, including that in Bardejov, must be sustained for a long term, which will require increased funding for their physical and scientific preservation.
... We have to remember that a new species can be discovered either in nature or in an herbarium. In fact, herbaria represent the physical place where plant taxonomic information is deposited, and where past, recent and current botanical collections are preserved, particularly type specimens, and where taxonomists understand what makes a species unique and comparable to other related species (Krell & Wheeler 2014). ...
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Currently in Panama, as in other parts of the world, there is little interest in taxonomy, both at the educational and research levels. In order to increase awareness and research interest in plant taxonomy amongst botany majors, we involved a cohort of college-level students of the University of Panama's Biology School in the process of naming a yet-to-be described species of Anthurium (Araceae), engaging them in all aspects of taxonomy including the process of proposing a new species to the scientific community. With their help, we hereby describe a new species we named Anthurium oistophyllum, with descriptions and illustrations based upon photographs of the vegetative and reproductive structures taken from live material.
... A todo momento, hipóteses são testadas, corroboradas ou refutadas e as coleções científicas são recursos particularmente poderosos para essa dinâmica, pois oferecem aos cientistas dados em escalas espaciais, temporais e taxonômicas, documentando assim, mudanças no ambiente 21 . Além disso, nós não sabemos quais características morfológicas e moleculares serão importantes no futuro 22 , nem quais ferramentas tecnológicas serão desenvolvidas. Desta forma, à medida que vamos alterando mais e mais o planeta, a importância da coleta contínua de espécimes e a manutenção das coleções científicas se mostram ainda mais importantes, e a sociedade de posse do entendimento dessa importância precisa cobrar de seus governantes a destinação de recursos para esse fim e todas as pesquisas ligadas a elas. ...
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Neste livro nós reunimos informações sobre adultos e imaturos de borboletas ocorrentes no município de Joaçaba, localizado no meio-oeste de Santa Catarina. As espécies registradas aqui se distribuem também por grande parte da Floresta Atlântica, outras ainda adentrando biomas como o Cerrado e a Amazônia. Esta obra contém 2.273 imagens correspondentes a 447 espécies. Destas, há imagens de 446 espécies preparadas com as asas esticadas, 178 espécies registradas no ambiente natural e 89 espécies com imagens dos imaturos. Adicionalmente, há informações a respeito dos meses de ocorrência, de alguns hábitos e caracterização morfológica dos adultos e imaturos, além do registro de plantas hospedeiras. Desta forma, associando imagens desses belíssimos insetos à descrição de hábitos e demais características das espécies, nós objetivamos auxiliar na divulgação de informações científicas também ao público leigo, buscando atrair uma maior parcela da sociedade ao conhecimento da grande diversidade de insetos neotropicais.
Natural history collections are invaluable repositories of biological information that provide an unrivaled record of Earth's biodiversity. Museum genomics—genomics research using traditional museum and cryogenic collections and the infrastructure supporting these investigations—has particularly enhanced research in ecology and evolutionary biology, the study of extinct organisms, and the impact of anthropogenic activity on biodiversity. However, leveraging genomics in biological collections has exposed challenges, such as digitizing, integrating, and sharing collections data; updating practices to ensure broadly optimal data extraction from existing and new collections; and modernizing collections practices, infrastructure, and policies to ensure fair, sustainable, and genomically manifold uses of museum collections by increasingly diverse stakeholders. Museum genomics collections are poised to address these challenges and, with increasingly sensitive genomics approaches, will catalyze a future era of reproducibility, innovation, and insight made possible through integrating museum and genome sciences. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Genetics, Volume 55 is November 2021. Please see for revised estimates.
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In the Report “Wild Pollinators Enhance Fruit Set of Crops Regardless of Honey Bee Abundance,” it is possible that some pollinator species were misidentified in lowland coffee, Uganda, one of the 41 studies included in the synthesis. This potential misidentification does not invalidate the analyses, conclusions, or the wider implications of the study. The results are not sensitive to which of the 41 studies are included, because the authors performed several analyses with different subsets of studies, and they all showed similar results. Furthermore, the mixed-effect models allow for individual variation in trends for each study. The results of these analyses depend on the consistency of patterns across all of the 41 studies sampled in 600 fields, and are not influenced to any large extent by a particular pattern occurring in just one study. The main analysis compared the flower visitation rate of honey bees versus all wild insect species combined. This analysis should be largely insensitive to identification concerns because honey bees were readily separable from other species in all studies. Indeed, the analyses performed in the synthesis do not make use of the species names of the wild insects (see database S1).
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Abstract Rapid advances in DNA synthesis techniques have made it possible to engineer viruses, biochemical pathways and assemble bacterial genomes. Here, we report the synthesis of a functional 272,871–base pair designer eukaryotic chromosome, synIII, which is based on the 316,617–base pair native Saccharomyces cerevisiae chromosome III. Changes to synIII include TAG/TAA stop-codon replacements, deletion of subtelomeric regions, introns, transfer RNAs, transposons, and silent mating loci as well as insertion of loxPsym sites to enable genome scrambling. SynIII is functional in S. cerevisiae. Scrambling of the chromosome in a heterozygous diploid reveals a large increase in a-mater derivatives resulting from loss of the MATα allele on synIII. The complete design and synthesis of synIII establishes S. cerevisiae as the basis for designer eukaryotic genome biology. Science 04 Apr 2014: Vol. 344, Issue 6179, pp. 55-58 DOI: 10.1126/science.1249252
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Norton, D. A., Lord, J. M., Given, D. R. & De Lange, P. J.: Over‐collecting: an overlooked factor in the decline of plant taxa. – Taxon 43: 181‐185. 1994. – ISSN 0040‐0262. Botanists, both professional and amateur, can have a substantial impact on uncommon plant taxa through over‐collecting, and in some cases this may result in extinction of uncommon taxa. This paper reviews examples of over‐collecting, mainly from the New Zealand flora, and suggests five guidelines to reduce its impact: (1) to use photographs where possible, especially as a preliminary record, (2) not to collect whole plants unless there are more than 20 plants, or more than 5 % of any one plant, (3) not to collect flowers or fruits if only a few present, (4) not to collect duplicates, and (5) to use seeds or cuttings for cultivation. Awareness of the effects of over‐collection and adoption of these collecting guidelines should contribute significantly to the conservation of uncommon plants.
California researchers have created living microbes capable of incorporating and copying a new pair of letters in life's genetic alphabet.