Scientific collections play vital role in conservation biology

May 22, 2014 6:31 PM

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Scientific collections play vital role in conservation biology

Scientists from the California Academy of Sciences and more than 60 other international research institutions spanning six continents have responded to a recent paper in Science, which questioned current methods of scientific collecting and advocated the use of non-lethal alternatives. The response, led by Luiz Rocha, Ph.D., the Academy's Assistant Curator and Follett Chair of Ichthyology, and co-authored by such science luminaries as Harvard's E. O. Wilson and the Academy's Chief of Science and Sustainability, Margaret (Meg) Lowman, describes in detail the value that scientific collections provide across a wide range of disciplines, including conservation biology, and stresses the minimal impact that collecting has on populations. The response is published this week in Science.

In the original paper, "Avoiding (Re)extinction," the authors (Minteer et al.) argued that the collection of scientific specimens has played a significant role in species extinction, pointing to examples of now-extinct birds, frogs, and plants to support this idea. In response, Rocha et al. present ...

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