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January 29, 2013


Life Sciences Seminar


Specimens, data and literature: how it can all go wrong

Gavin Broad

Terrestrial Invertebrates, Dept.of Life Sciences, NHM


Wednesday 30 of January 11:00
Sir Neil Chalmers seminar room, Darwin Centre LG16 (below Attenborough studio)

Specimens are not necessarily data, and use of a species name in the literature does not necessarily confer reliability. These are not novel observations, so the misuse of junk data, from collections, observations and catalogues, is endlessly surprising and sometimes horrifying. I use examples from a relatively poorly known but huge group of insects - parasitoid wasps (Hymenoptera) - to demonstrate that much more effort needs to be directed towards specimen sorting and identification. It's not all bad news though; major collections of obscure wasps are rich in specimens that can be used to address all sorts of interesting questions, given appropriate investment.




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