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13 Posts tagged with the biodiversity tag
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Coral.jpg

 

Conservation of reef corals of the world: why phylogeny matters


Danwei Huang

Postdoctoral scholar, University of Iowa

 

Friday 18 October 11:00
Sir Neil Chalmers seminar room, Darwin Centre LG16 (below Attenborough studio)


One third of the world's reef-building corals are facing heightened extinction risk from anthropogenic climate change and local impacts. Extinction probabilities aside, species are not equal. Rather, evolutionary processes render each species, or species assemblage in general, unique with a distinctive history that can be characterised for conservation. My research is aimed at quantifying these patterns based on a robust understanding of the coral tree of life. In this talk, I will show that it is critical to consider species' contribution to evolutionary diversity in conjunction with their extinction risk when setting priorities to safeguard biodiversity.

 

My analyses identify the most endangered lineages that would not be given top priority on the basis of risk alone, and further demonstrate that corals susceptible to impacts such as bleaching and disease tend to be close relatives. One of Earth's most threatened reef regions, the Coral Triangle, is also famously the most biodiverse. While competing ideas are plentiful, the dynamics underlying this biogeographic pattern remain poorly understood. Phylogenetic modelling adds a valuable dimension to these explanations, and can help us uncover the evolutionary processes that have shaped coral richness in the hotspot. Indeed, conservation of the world's reef corals requires protecting the historical sources of diversity, particularly the evolutionarily distinct species and the drivers of its geographic diversity gradient.

 

For additional details on attending this or other seminars see http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/seminars-events/index.html

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Many species and larger taxonomic groups, especially invertebrates, have been little studied in terms of their patterns of geographical distribution - biogeography - and even basic information, inventories and assessments are missing.  A key reason for this is that collecting and sampling has been too limited and too uneven: there are simply no good baseline data on distributions.

 

Ian Kitching of the NHM Life Sciences Department, with colleagues from the University of Basel, Switzerland, and Yale University, USA, set out to establish why inventories for the hawkmoths of Sub-Saharan Africa are incomplete, considering human geographical and associated environmental factors.

 

xanthopan-morganii-praedicta-madagascan-sphinx-moth-_105466_1.jpg
Xanthopan morganii praedicta - a hawkmoth found in Madagascar and East Africa

 

They used a database of hawkmoth distribution records to estimate species richness across 200 x 200 km map grid cells and then used mathematical models predict species richness and  map region-wide diversity patterns. Next, they estimated cell-wide inventory completeness related to human geographical factors.

 

They found that the observed patterns of hawkmoth species richness are strongly determined by the number of available records in grid cells. Vegetation type is an important factor in estimated total richness, together with heat, energy availability and topography. Their model identified three centres of diversity: Cameroon coastal mountains, and the northern and southern East African mountain areas. Species richness is still under-recorded in the western Congo Basin and in southern Tanzania/Mozambique.

 

What does this mean?  It means that sampling (and therefore our knowledge) of biodiversity is heavily biased.  We have good data and information where there is higher population density; for more accessible and less remote areas; for protected areas and for certain areas where there was collecting in colonial periods.  If it is easy to get to, not too difficult to access, there are more people around and there have been longer histories of collecting: we have better knowledge. 

 

This is important in how we understand biodiversity and in how we make decisions with our knowledge to protect forests or other areas.  But this study means that we can take account of data gaps if we are looking at larger scale patterns of diversity.  It shows that baselines for broad diversity patterns can be developed using models and what data there is available.  We can identify the "known unknowns" in terms of information gaps in part by looking at human geographical features - the models can help set priorities for future exploration and collection as well as informing our understanding of biodiveristy.


Ballesteros-Mejia, L., Kitching, I.J., Jetz, W., Nagel, P. & Beck, J. 2013. Mapping the biodiversity of tropical insects: species richness and inventory completeness of African sphingid moths. Global Ecology & Biogeography 22: 586-595. (doi: 10.1111/geb.12039)

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The great majority of the more than 400 families of snails are found only in the sea, while about 5% of them are exclusively freshwater. Very few snail groups are common in both environments and just three marine families have rare freshwater members.

 

One of these is the Littorinidae (periwinkles), familiar from rocky shores. In the nineteenth century three freshwater periwinkle species (genus Cremnoconchus) were discovered in the mountainous Western Ghats of India, living in fast-flowing streams at altitudes between 300 and 1400 m. These have not been studied for over 100 years.

 

Cremnoconchus.JPGFigure from the original description of Cremnoconchus (images 1-7) Image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library. http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org

 

In a collaboration with scientists from the NHM's partner organisation the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bangalore, David Reid revisited the type localities of the three known species to collect new specimens. (The type locality is the place in which the reference specimen was found that was originally used to describe and name the species.) These were studied to find out more about the snails and allowed the relationships between the species to be investigagted in more detail and revised.  There are distinctive differences between the species particularly in terms of their radula (the rasping tongue of snails), their reproductive systems and the calcified operculum (the disc that fits into the shell opening when the snail retreats into the shell, providing additional protection from predators and desiccation).

 

In addition, an unknown radiation of six new Cremnoconchus species was discovered in the central Western Ghats, 500 km south of the previously known range where David and his collaborators looked at the known species.

 

Cremnoconchus is interesting in evolutionary terms: the current evidence suggests that its closest living relatives are marine snails found only in New Zealand and Australia, suggesting that the ancestral population was split by the breakup of the ancient continent Gondwana during the Cretaceous, between 145 and 65 million years ago.  However, more evidence and DNA studies would be needed to confirm this hypothesis.


Each of the six new species was restricted to a single stream system on the steep western escarpment of the Deccan Plateau, with limited overlap in distribution in two places.  This suggests that populations of ancestral species were isolated by waterfalls or other features allowing evolutionary divergence over time The habitat of these snails is fragile, being very limited in scale and threatened by tourism, road construction and domestic pollution: all the species are judged to be endangered.

 

Reid, D.G., Aravind, N.A. & Madhyastha, N.A. (2013) A unique radiation of marine littorinid snails in the freshwater streams of the Western Ghats of India: the genus Cremnoconchus W.T. Blanford, 1869 (Gastropoda: Littorinidae). Zoological  Journal of the Linnean Society. 167: 93-135.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1096-3642.2012.00875.x

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Life Sciences Seminar


Inferring the diversification of land plants at and in the shadow of the Roof of the World

 

Harald Schneider

Plants, Dept. of Life Sciences, NHM

 

Wednesday 12 of December 11:00
Sir Neil Chalmers seminar room, Darwin Centre LG16 (below Attenborough studio)


Orogenic events in earth history, e.g. mountain formation, have made a profound impact on the assembly of biological diversity. For example, recent studies of the biodiversity of South America recovered strong evidence that the Cenozoic rise of the Andeans triggered the rapid diversification of many lineages of vascular plants.

 

However, relatively little attention has been given to the effect of the rise of the Himalaya on plant diversity. The rise of this mountain chains were triggered by the collision of the Indian tectonic plate with the Eurasian continent 70 million years ago but major uplifts date back to more recent times. Especially the rather recent formation of the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, around 3-4 million years ago, had a considerable impact on the monsoon climates in South East Asia. Thus the rise of this plateau affected not only the evolution of plants adapted to the alpine conditions at the high altitudes of the Himalaya but also the expansion of xeric habitats in central Asia and the enhanced monsoons affecting South East Asia and South Asia.

 

The hypothesis of the impact of the rise of the Himalaya on plant diversity in South East Asia is studied employing mainly phylogenetic approaches that incorporate divergence time estimates, ancestral area reconstruction, inference of niche evolution, and estimates of diversification rates. The analyses also incorporate evidence from micro-paleontological research.

 

Comparative assessment of the existing and newly generated phylogenetic hypotheses for a wide range of angiosperms and ferns recovered evidence supporting the hypothesis of a substantial impact of the rise of the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau on the assembly of lineage diversity. This result is consistent with palaeoclimate reconstructions that are based on pollen and spore record. In comparison, the recovered patterns indicate the involvement of different processes in response to the Cenozoic mountain formations in South America and South East Asia.

 

The presentation summarises research that was carried out during my time as a senior visiting professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Besides the presentation of the results of the research, I will also touch on issues related to the current research conditions in China.

 

Harald Schneider

 

 

 

For additional details on attending this or other seminars see http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/seminars-events/index.html

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Thanks to a collaboration between the Tropical Andean Butterfly Diversity Project (TABDP, which is a University College London, NHM and Darwin Initiative project)  and the Butterflies of America project (BoA) , we now have a unique online archive of photographs of the type specimens of Neotropical butterflies - butterflies from the tropical areas of the Americas.

 

 

 

NaturalHistoryMuseum_030980_IA Paplio homerus.jpg

 

This project has a number of purposes and benefits. 

 

  • First, the list of butterflies is a checklist - a list used to define all the species found in a particular area. This is important because it summarises current knowledge of diversity: biodiversity scientists and conservation professionals know what has been found and what they should take account of in research. The act of compiling a checklist will often involve research and reorganisation of collections to reflect current knowledge
  • Second, these are photographs of the type specimens - the definitive reference specimens used as authority for the use of a scientific name.  These are housed in museums such as the NHM in a number of different locations. A virtual photographic collection allows scientists to see easily where the reference specimens are for use - and the photograph may be sufficient for some scientific uses.  It also brings together specimens from different collections that would not otherwise be brought together without considerable cost.
  • Third, the photographs can help in identification and mean that scientists and conservation workers in different parts of the Americas can use the resource as a reference - this may need some care and development of more complex identification resources, such as keys, but the pictures are an important resource nonetheless.


The great majority of these images are scans of print photographs taken by Gerardo Lamas over many years of research in museums throughout the world, and we are very grateful for his generosity in allowing them to be made available. Scanning and initial databasing of the prints was completed by TABDP, supported by the Darwin Initiative, and then given to BoA to be made available online. BoA's Nick Grishin designed and wrote the web pages that now display the images. Numerous other people deserve acknowledgement, including the curators of the museums where these types are housed and many other members of TABDP, BoA and other lepidopterists who contributed images, time and encouragement. 

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There is considerable international interest in the impacts of invasive species on biodiversity.  Species are described as being invasive when they cause impacts on biodiversity outside their normal range as a result of introduction or spread as a consequence of human activity.  This impact can lead to loss of native species, spread of disease, impacts on native habitats or other effects.  They are often described as invasive alien species. In the marine environment this can happen as a result of transport by ships in ballast water, or migration through new sea routes such as the Suez Canal.


Recent work from the Museum provides more evidence that the flood of invasive Red Sea species entering the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal includes fish parasites.  Dr Hoda El-Rashidy (who obtained her PhD while researching in the Zoology Department at the NHM) and Prof Geoff Boxshall (Zoology) have described two more new species of parasitic copepods from Egyptian Mediterranean waters off the coast of Alexandria.

 

Their hosts, two species of Red Sea rabbitfish (Siganus luridus and S. rivulatus) have established populations in the Mediterranean. Invasive species often leave their parasites behind, due to the sampling effect of passing through a small founder population, but the continuing discovery of invasive parasitic copepods combined with the absence of any genetic evidence of a bottleneck in their host populations, highlights the remarkable scale of the faunal invasion of the eastern Mediterranean.

 

International concern and efforts to monitor and control impacts of invasive species are significant, with an EU Strategy,  a major focus from the Convention on Biological Diversity, and a UK Non-Native Species Secretariat.  Even on a city level here in London there is coordination on selected species such as Japanese knotweed and various invasive crayfish.


El-Rashidy, H.H. & Boxshall, G.A.  2011. Two new species of Parasitic Copepods (Crustacea) on two immigrant fishes from the Red Sea of Family Siganidae. Systematic Parasitology 19: 175-193. DOI 10.1007/s11230-011-9298-7


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Scientists working on the diversity of life are familiar with new estimates of the number of species – we believe that there are around 1.7 million species that have been described over the past three centuries, the vast majority represented in collections such as that of the NHM.  Estimates of the total number of species that actually exist vary hugely, ranging from 10 million to up to 100 million - but the majority certainly seem to be unknown and undescribed. Contrast this with the view in the mid-Eighteenth Century, when Linnaeus thought in terms of the thousands of species that might exist, and was able to describe what he thought was a substantial proportion of life on Earth.

 

We know some groups reasonably well: for example the discovery of new bird species is at a low frequency and mammals similarly so, despite there being a large number of scientists who specialise in these groups.  The situation with invertebrates is rather different – we think that there are millions of undescribed species and the limiting factor is the number of scientists available to find and describe them.

 

But this traditional model is based on knowing that a group exists and (more or less) what a species is in that group– such as beetles, or flowering plants, or nematodes.  When it comes to very small organisms – whether bacteria or other groups, we are much less certain of the overall extent and groupings of natural diversity.

 

Our view has been limited in the past by the need to see the organism or to be able to culture it in a laboratory..  Our understanding now can change rapidly as a result in advances in the use of molecular biological techniques that enable us to look for distinctive DNA or RNA in the environment and compare this with what is already known.

 

A new discovery, led by NHM scientist Tom Richards with David Bass (both in Zoology), and collaborators from Exeter, Cambridge, Barcelona and Harvard, has opened up a new horizon in how we think about fungal diversity (Jones et al., 2011). It could represent the discovery of a new fungal phylum - a major group in taxonomic terms.

 

Fungi are extremely diverse – with traditional estimates of 1.5 million species.  They are more closely related - as a sister group - to animals than to plants and have traditionally been thought to have characteristic cell walls made of chitin or cellulose.  It is thought that plants, animals and fungi all originated from single-celled organisms that used flagellae to propel themselves through water (James et al., 2006).

 

Tom, David and their colleagues took information on known RNA diversity in fungi and compared this with new material from sea and freshwater samples from Devon in the UK.  They found a wide diversity of new RNA profiles for previously unknown organisms that were clearly within the fungi but which were distinctly different from what was already known: the new profles were most similar to a couple of unusual species in the genus RozellaRozella is considered a primitive fungus because it lacks the normally characteristic cell wall (as do the newly discovered fungi) and has represented a tiny and uncharacteristic group in past understanding of fungal diversity.  The lack of a cell wall seems to make these fungi difficult to culture in the laboratory - and so difficult to find.

 

They also found evidence that these new and hidden fungi – which they called Cryptomycota – have three life cycle stages: one a resistant dormant cyst; a second mobile zoospores with flagellae; and a third attached to the cell of another organism (such as diatoms, which are single-celled plants).

 

What does this mean?  These fungi could play a significant part in ecosystems, interacting with other organisms and influencing how those ecosystems work and how other organisms live.  We don’t at this stage know how widespread they are, how diverse they are, or their ecology, but given their diversity it seems possible that they are widespread and their ecology diverse.

 

It also shows that our traditional methods of exploring diversity can miss major groups – if we have not been able to see organisms easily, and they cannot be cultured in the lab, we do not know that they exist, so our estimates of possible diversity could be significantly in error. What else is there to be found?

 

 

James, T. et al. (2006) Reconstructing the early evolution of Fungi using a six-gene phylogeny. Nature 443, 818-822 (19 October 2006) doi:10.1038/nature05110

 

Jones, D.M. et al. (2011) Discovery of novel intermediate forms redefines the fungal tree of life. Nature, Published online 11 May 2011 doi:10.1038/nature09984

 

http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110511/full/news.2011.285.html

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The Rappemonads, a new branch of the tree of life has been traced: Dr  Tom Richards (Zoology), in collaboration with scientists from Monterey  Bay Aquarium Research Institute USA, and Dalhousie University Canada,  has identified a previously unknown group of single-celled organisms related to red algae. These newly discovered marine and freshwater cells contain plastids (of which chloroplasts are an example) that photosynthesise, producing energy from sunlight.

It is  estimated that almost 2 million species of plants, animals, fungi and other life forms have been described and  identified in the past two hundred and fifty years.  Much of this science of diversity has been based on physical form - morphology - but in recent years DNA sequencing has made it possible to explore biodiversity in new ways and different environments.  It is thought that much of the biodiversity remaining to be discovered - possibly around 10 million species - lies in single-celled organisms and bacteria, which are too small to see with the naked eye and live in vast numbers in soils, water or sediments. Our understanding of what biodiversity is, and why it is important in ecosystems, continues to change as the technology develops.

Tom and his collaborators used DNA techniques to to investigate unidentified microbes from shorelines in the UK and US, from open sea water and from UK fresh waters.  Their DNA results were compared with information in large scientific databases and proved to be from a new group of organisms, the rappemonads, related to algae, phytoplankton and seaweeds, a unique form of photosynthetic life. It appears that rappemonads occur from time to time in large numbers in transient oceanic blooms, suggesting that it may play a significant role in the global carbon cycle and marine food webs.

Kim, E., Harrison, J., Sudek, S., Jones, M. D. M., Wilcox, H. M., Richards, T. A., Worden, A. Z., & Archibald, J. M. 2011. Newly identified and diverse plastid-bearing branch on the eukaryotic tree of life. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. Online Early.

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A recent major study (Hoffman et al., 2010) involving NHM amphibian scientists Mark Wilkinson and David Gower has concluded that although 20 per cent of vertebrate species are threatened, the rate of loss would have been one-fifth greater had conservation efforts not been in place. Conservation efforts have an effect, but this is not sufficient to prevent loss and extinction, or to meet ambitious international targets.

 

Most scientists in the museum study particular groups of organisms. However, the ecosystems in which they live are complex and diverse, containing a multitude of species.  If we want to understand patterns of global biodiversity loss, it is essential that many different scientists collaborate, so the paper in Science involved the work of more than 160 internationally expert scientists from many different countries, all specialists in different vertebrate groups: amphibians, fish, mammals, reptiles and birds.

 

A standard scale for classifying the level of threat to different species has been developed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) of which the NHM is a member.  Threats to particular species are set out in the IUCN Red List, which classifies threat levels from Least Concern, through Near Threatened; Vulnerable; Endangered; Critically Endangered; to Extinct in the Wild.  The study considered data for 25,780 species and found that 52 species of vertebrates move one category closer to extinction each year.  Forty-one per cent of amphibian species are threatened due to habitat loss and other factors such as disease.

 

This large-scale work in biodiversity science is essential to enable realistic plans to be drawn up by governments and others to combat biodiversity loss.  2010 was the UN International Year of Biodiversity, the target year for international commitments to slow the rate of biodiversity loss.  These targets were not met and we are now, until 2020, in the International Decade of Biodiversity, for the end of which there are new and demanding targets for slowing loss.

The science done by the NHM and its many international partners will be an essential element in taking effective action.

 

Hoffmann, M. et al. 2010 The Impact of Conservation on the Status of the World’s Vertebrates Science 10 December 2010: 330 (6010), 1503-1509.Published online 26 October 2010 [DOI:10.1126/science.1194442]

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Understanding the diversity of life is central to the mission of the Natural History Museum. Science sees diversity in many ways: populations, species, ecosystems, individuals or genes and the Museum's collections of more than 70 million items are used by scientists for research on many aspects of diversity.  The collections have developed over the past 250 years with a very strong emphasis on the idea of the species, but reflect diversity within species as well - the differences between populations from different areas, for example.

 

What separates one species from another is not always an easy question: it is a key question for the science of taxonomy and has important practical implications.  The established biological species concept defines two species as two groups of organisms that cannot interbreed to produce fertile young when in the same location.  When different species are present in the same location, this can be observed in theory.  However, when two groups of similar organisms are geographically separate, are they different populations, different subspecies, or different species? This will be the case for many thousands of species and has led to heated debate among scientists who have taken different views.

 

Beyond science, this is of importance because the species is often used in practical policy-making and economic activity.  There needs to be accurate definition for biodiversity conservation, pest control in agriculture, human health and other activities.

 

A group of collaborating scientists from Oxford and Cambridge Universities and from BirdLife International have used the Museum's bird collections to try to define a reliable standard for species. They aimed to define how much genetic, morphological and behavioural distance there was between known species and subspecies, and within species.

 

The scientists looked at pairs of 58 closely-related species and subspecies, including European swallows and linnets, North American blackbirds and tyrant flycatchers and African Illadopsis. They examined more than 2,000 specimens from the NHM bird collections and more than 140 from Louisana State University for morphological data and plumage, and looked also at song, ecological and behavioural differences. The intention was to use this suite of characters to define a reliable and objective difference between species.

 

Tobias et. al (2010) published their results in the journal Ibis, concluding that this is a reliable way of confirming species separations and propose that this could be used increasingly to improve the reliability of understanding of bird diversity. An article in Nature (Brooks and Helgen, 2010), commenting on the paper, suggested that there could be very interesting possibilities in applying similar techniques to other groups of organisms and with DNA data.

 

Thousands of visiting scientists routinely use the Museum's collections as a research resource: the collection represents a body of evidence to address new questions and test established knowledge of natural diversity, and continues to develop as research interests expand.

 


TOBIAS, J. A., SEDDON, N., SPOTTISWOODE, C. N., PILGRIM, J. D.,  FISHPOOL, L. D. C. and COLLAR, N. J. (2010), Quantitative criteria for  species delimitation. Ibis, 152: 724–746.  doi: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.2010.01051.x

 

Brooks, T. M. and K. M. Helgen (2010). "Biodiversity: A standard for species." Nature 467(7315): 540-541.

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In November 2010, Drs David Gower and Mark Wilkinson (Zoology) represented the NHM at the formal launch of the International project LAI: Lost Amphibians of India at the University of Delhi, India.

This project aims to “rediscover” Indian amphibian species in the wild that have not been recorded scientifically for anywhere between 18 and 169 years. The concern is that some of the 50 or so species on the wanted list might have become extinct, given that amphibian declines and extinctions have been reported worldwide in recent years.

Many of the “lost” Indian species are known only from their museum type specimens, often historical material held only in the NHM, having been collected during the colonial period.

The NHM is an official Institutional Partner in the LAI project along with several international conservation NGOs. The project is organised by the University  of Delhi and supported by the Indian government Department of Biotechnology, Department of Science and Technology, and Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Both David and Mark have worked in India and other countries with local collaborators over many years, focusing in particular on the diversity, evolution and biogeography of the burrowing, legless caecilian amphibians.  Two South American examples of these animals can be seen among the species of the day for 2010: Rhinatrema bivittatum; and Atretochoana eiselti.

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A new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science explores the way in which new species of plants are described from specimens that may already have been in herbarium collections for many years, and underlines the importance of collections for discovering diversity..

 

NHM scientist Dr Mark Carine and scientific associate Dr Norman Robson undertook the research with colleagues from the Earthwatch Institute; University of Oxford; Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh; Royal Botanic Gardens Kew; and the Missouri Botanical Garden, looking at the time between the acquistion of the specimens and publication of the plant's description in the Kew Bulletin.

 

A small number of specimens are recognised as being new species when they are first collected.  However, the scientists found that many others are identified as a result of comparisons and revisions of major groups of plants that take place more gradually within the large collections, sometimes taking several years.  In this process, many specimens from different herbaria will be compared: the comparison and analysis gives rise to new understanding of diversity and the identification and description of new species.

 

This work emphasises the importance of collections, such as those of the NHM and its partners, in improving understanding of plant diversity. These collections exchange many specimens each year, and make thousands of loans to enable scientists to work on plant diversity around the world.  They are increasingly developing digital resources that should give wider and more rapid access to images of plant specimens, supporting this area of science.

 

 

Bebber, DP, Carine, MA, Wood, JRI, Wortley, AH, Harris, DJ, Prance, GT, Davids, G, Paige, J, Pennington, TD, Robson, NKB and Scotland, RW (2010) Herbaria are a major frontier for species discovery.  PNAS.  December 6, 2010

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Dr Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum (NHM), and Dr Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), have just signed an agreement on the NHM joining the CBD's Consortium of Scientific Partners on Biodiversity.

 

The CBD is the focus in the UN system for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, first agreed in 1992.  It has made a major difference to the way in which biodiversity is monitored, conserved and used in many parts of the world since then. 192 countries are parties to the CBD, and they held their tenth conference in Nagoya, Japan at the end of 2010.

 

This meeting reviewed progress in reaching the 2010 targets for conserving biodiversity, but it is clear that there is no slowing of the rate of biodiversity loss on a global scale.  Biodiversity is not only valuable in its own right, but provides essential services in terms of food, environment, medicine and other human needs, so substantial long-term loss is of major concern.

 

There is an increasing sense of urgency to address threats to biodiversity and the Nagoya meeting secured agreement on a new strategy looking foward to 2020, and on a number of other issues.   One of these was a new protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing of genetic resources, which will be important in influencing the development and collaborative use of museum collections such as the NHM.

 

The Consortium is a group of major biodiversity institutions that are committed to collaborate with the CBD.  Its purpose is to mobilise "the expertise and experience of these institutions in order to  implement education and training activities to support developing  countries that are building scientific, technical and policy skills in  the area of biodiversity"

 

Current members are

 

  • The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
  • The Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle de France
  • The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
  • The German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation
  • The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
  • The National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • The Mexican Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources
  • The Higashiyama Botanical Gardens, City of Nagoya
  • Royal Botanical Gardens of Edinburgh
  • The National Institute of Biological Resources
  • The Missouri Botanical Gardens
  • Joint Nature Conservation Committee
  • The Natural History Museum of the United Kingdom
  • The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity