Dave Wagner also just published a nice summary on the topic for Annual Reviews.





Floyd W. Shockley, Ph.D., F.R.E.S.

Collections Manager

Department of Entomology
National Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian Institution
P.O. Box 37012, MRC 165
Washington, DC 20013-7012

Tel (office): 202-633-0982
Fax (office): 202-786-2894
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From: Entomological Collections Network Listserve <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Metzler, Eric
Sent: Tuesday, February 11, 2020 2:26 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Biodiversity Crisis - We need your input


External Email - Exercise Caution

I refer you to several published papers located with a simple google search, as well as this link:






Eric Metzler

Alamogordo, NM


From: Entomological Collections Network Listserve <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Eric Eaton <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, February 11, 2020 11:57 AM
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Biodiversity Crisis - We need your input



I concur with previous comments so far, but I'd like to make one criticism if I may, brought to you from someone who absolutely respects science and admires scientists....


"Do we really know there is a biodiversity crisis in invertebrates?"  While this is a fair question, and whereas many of my learned colleagues have repeatedly stated that we do not have adequate, quantitative, historical data to reach any kind of conclusion on the state of abundance and diversity of invertebrates....None of them is saying "Our bad, we did not know we would ever need this information.  Our priorities in funding and research have revolved overwhelmingly around the impacts of insects on human health, agriculture, and to a lesser degree on forestry.  In essence, entomology research has been almost exclusively *economic entomology* research."


Instead, what we hear is how evidence of insect decline is anecdotal, amateurish, and mostly useless information.  Wow.  We wonder why people don't trust science any longer.  It is this kind of condescending attitude  and refusal to accept responsibility for "failures" of science that piss people off.  It is kind of a wonder we have any citizen scientists at all when they are valued only slightly.


Clarifying *why* we, as scientists, are skeptical of an "insect apocalypse" would go a long way to improving public understanding of the controversy, and go a long way in rebuilding public trust in the scientific method that requires reproducible results.


Eric R. Eaton

Lead author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America


On Tue, Feb 11, 2020 at 11:38 AM laurence packer <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Well, there's a special issue in insect conservation and diversity coming out in March

on insect declines - the editorial that starts it is fairly critical of the insect apocalypse

narrative, but the solid empirical papers that follow it are pretty good at determining

that many decines are real - you just need good, long datasets to show it.

Doug's point is perfect though.





On Tue, Feb 11, 2020 at 1:24 PM Lynn Kimsey <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


That was my take on the survey. Do we really know there is a biodiversity crisis in invertebrates? We don’t have enough background data to be sure except in collections and we lack alpha taxonomists to deal with the issue. DNA isn’t going to solve everything.



From: Entomological Collections Network Listserve <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Doug Yanega
Sent: Tuesday, February 11, 2020 10:19 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Biodiversity Crisis - We need your input


"We have developed a short online survey that we hope will capture the information we need to formulate a meaningful response.


Having just completed this survey, I'll note that among the agenda items we're asked to prioritize, two of them ask about the need for funding or leading conservation efforts, but none of them ask about the need for funding or leading curatorial efforts, such as training and supporting taxonomists to provide identifications for natural history collections, or capturing and mobilizing specimen data.

I think all of us in the community understand that you can't promote effective assessment or management of biodiversity if you don't know what the organisms are, or where they live, and while I don't doubt for a minute that the people in SPNHC are fully aware of this fundamental need, I do have to wonder why it does not appear anywhere in the survey, when it seems to me that it should be an integral part of the discussion. After all, it's not like this work has been completed, or is anywhere even close to complete - there isn't a natural history collection in the world that has all of its holdings databased, online, AND fully reviewed for accuracy (both accuracy of data, and accuracy of identification). Is this not one of the highest priorities we in the collections community need to address in terms of the biodiversity crisis? How useful are our millions upon millions of specimens if we don't know whether we can trust the data, or trust the IDs?

I'm not really looking for a public response, but I do want to encourage people taking the survey to make use of the comments towards the end to give feedback, and expand upon the very limited selection of agenda items in the survey, if you agree with me that there are some fundamental things missing.


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