Weevil taxonomy, morphology and morphology (Coleoptera: Curculionoidea)
Phylogeny and classification of Molytinae and Cryptorhynchinae.
The project will clarify the identity of the tribes and subtribes of these two subfamilies, as well as determine whether they and their subtaxa are truly monophyletic. Currently most of the taxa included cannot be easily distinguished, and the largest groups, the Cryptorhynchina and Tylodina, are both almost certainly paraphyletic or polyphyletic. The work includes functional morphology, with the aim of identifying homologies (Lyal, 1995; Lyal & King, 1996; Lyal et al, 2006).
Weevil host relationships: seed-predation.
Much of the work is concentrated on tropical forest trees. The main areas of interest are the systematics and co-evolution of weevils on the oriental tree family Dipterocarpaceae. Work was recently completed with Sara Pinzon (as a PhD student) in Panama using DNA barcoding to link larval and adult forms and allow more detailed understanding of insect-seed associations and biology. This has led to papers on DNA taxonomy and a greater understanding of its use in investigating biodiversity.
Insects feeding on tropical forest seeds
Nomenclature and species cataloguing.
Construction of a species-level catalogue of the ca.70,000 weevil species known, following successful completion of a catalogue to family-group and genus-group names in the superfamily (Alonso-Zarazaga & Lyal, 1999, 2002; Lyal & Alonso-Zarazaga 2006). The database currently holds some 100,000 names and is one of the 4 largest accessible through Species 2000. Following a first pass to acquire content from secondary sources we are now checking all citations against the original reference to ensure correct orthography and Code compliance. My main collaborator is Miguel Alonso-Zarazaga of MNCN, Madrid. See
WTAXA - the World Electronic Catalogue of Weevil Names
Increasing access to taxonomic information
INOTAXA – Integrated Open Taxonomic Access.
The project aim is to enhance the availability of taxonomic and related biodiversity information through digitizing published taxonomic literature and creating a means of searching it. ‘INOTAXA’ is the result - a powerful interface to enable search and browse of taxonomic literature marked up in an XML script, taXMLit, developed as part of the project. The project also digitized our major test publication, the Biologia Centrali-Americana, My main collaborator on this project is Dr Anna Weitzman, NMNH, Washington.
The Electronic Biologia Centrali-Americana
The latest version of the taXMLittaXMLit vn5-03 OCTET-STREAM (588.9 KB)
The weevil community, meeting at the Brisbane International Congress of Entomology, asked for a web 'home' where they could discuss weevil taxonomy, systematics, morphology and other matters of interest. This is now created as one of the EDIT 'scratchpads',
The Weevil Community Website
Grants and consultancies
Access & Benefit-Sharing: non-commercial biodiversity research & the Nagoya Protocol.
As Parties to the CBD prepare to implement the Nagoya Protocol non-commercial biodiversity research bodies, particularly the large collection-holding taxonomic institutions, have to find ways of managing relevant activities. My collaborative work includes: preparing draft of UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/37 “Implementation Of The Nagoya Protocol On Access And Benefit-Sharing And The Global Taxonomy Initiative”; leading NHM team addressing internal policies, processes and data management systems; working with Global Genome Biodiversity Network to develop best practice guidelines with respect to ABS and data management, and a standard MTA; working with Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities to develop Best Practices for ABS and to meet requirements of the developing EU Regulation; advising other bodies. Currently preparing tools to facilitate understanding of implications among taxonomic community and facilitate capacity development. I was Co-Chair of the 2011 “Expert Meeting on the Modalities of Operation of the Access and Benefit-sharing Clearing-House” in Montreal and am chair of the Informal Advisory Committee to the ABS CHM.
Global Invasive Alien Species Information Partnership
Information on all aspects of IAS is required by Parties to meet Aichi Target 9 and other issues arising from Article 8(h). To meet this need the GIASIPartnership has been formed of information providers and the Secretariat of the CBD. My collaborative work in this area includes leading the NHM participation, chairing the interim Steering Committee, designing, creating and managing the GIASIPartnership Information Gateway with input from technical workshops. My contributions also draw on experience of developing a global Taxonomic Needs Assessment in the context of Invasive Alien Species.
Capacity-Building in taxonomy
Capacity building cannot be taken in isolation but tied to desired outcomes. My work with the Global Taxonomy Initiative, BioNET-INTERNATIONAL and through grants with Defra focussed on identifying needs for taxonomy among non-taxonomy stakeholders, matching those needs to existing capacity, then identifying and prioritising gaps to be filled. I developed a toolkit to facilitate carrying out such assessments (published through BioNET and the CBD, and trialled it in Ghana. The Ghanaian assessment was tied explicitly to a mechanism to feed results into the NBSAP to gain policy support for subsequent capacity-building. I worked with partners in many countries to develop locally owned and operated taxonomic networks. Current work is focussed on ABS and Invasive Species.
- Global Invasive Alien Species Information Partnership: Steering Committee, 2013- present; chair, Interim Steering Committee (2012-2013)
- Informal Advisory Committee to the Pilot Phase of the ABS Clearing House: Chair 2013 - present
- Member of Global Biodiversity Subcommittee (GBSC) of GECC (Defra) 2004 – 2007.
- BioNET-INTERNATIONAL Fund Supervisory Board (member: 2004-2005; Chair: 2006-2011); Chair of Advisory Group (2006-2011)
- Biodiversity Standards (TDWG), Member, Taxonomic Literature Standards group (2006 – )
- Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI): Member of Coordination Mechanism (2003 - present). UK National Focal Point (2006-present).
- Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP): member of Global Information Management Working Group (2001 – 2003)
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF): Chair of Science Sub-Committee on the Electronic Catalogue of Names (2003-2008); Member of Science Committee (2003-2008); Vice chair of Science Sub-Committee on Outreach and Capacity Building (2001 – 2003).
- ALL-Species Foundation: Scientific Advisor (2001 – 2004)
- Consortium for the Barcode of Life: Member, Database Working Group (2005)
- National Biodiversity Inventory Programme of Costa Rica: Member of International Scientific Advisory Committee (1998 – 2003); Member of Coleoptera Working Group (TWIG) (1998-2003)
- Raleigh International: Member of Research and Conservation Committee (1992 – 2000)
Societies and National Bodies
- Royal Entomological Society: Fellow (1977-present); Member of Publications Committee (1989-1994); Member of Council (1993-1996); Vice-President (1995-1996)
- Zoological Society of London: Scientific Fellow
- Systematics Association: Member of Council (1985-1988; 1993-1996); Member of Meetings Committee (1993-2003)
- Joint Committee for the Conservation of British Invertebrates: NHM representative (1990 – 1996)
- The Entomological Club; Member, (2007- )
Advisory group meetings and workshops
- 2013, Montreal, Canada. Informal Advisory Committee to the pilot phase of the Access and Benefit-sharing Clearing-House (Chair)
- 2013, Brasilia, Brazil. Brazil/EU Workshop "The role played by biological collections under the Nagoya Protocol” (invited participant)
- 2013, Berlin, Germany. CETAF ABS Core Group workshop on responses to the EU draft Regulation on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization in the Union (co-organiser).
- 2013, Brussels, Belgium. MICROB3 workshop “Towards a Model Agreement on Access and Benefit Sharing for Marine Genetic Resources” Invited Participant.
- 2013, Bonn, Germany. IUCN Seminar on Marine Genetic Resources in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (invited participant)
- 2012, Oxford: GSC 14 - Genomic Standards Consortium Workshop (Oxford) (Invited participant in Bioarchiving and ABS breakout group)
- 2012, IPBES discussion meeting, Cambridge
- 2012, Joint workshop for discussing options for implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing, Kew, 12 March 2012 (invited participant).
- 2012, 1st Winter Summit at the Anatolia Summit (WISAS): Collaborative Projects on Tourism, Sports, Bio-Diversity and Global Changes. Erzurum, Turkey – keynote speaker.
- 2012, Conference on Genetic Resources and Traditional Knowledge: Research Cooperation and Facilitated Access. Goettingen, Germany - invited participant
- 2011, “Building BioNET's future”(taxonomic capacity-building) Bangi, Malaysia – facilitator, co-organiser.
- 2011: Expert Meeting on the Modalities of Operation of the Access and Benefit-sharing Clearing-House, Montreal (Co-Chair)
- 2010, Taxonomic needs Assessment in Ghana – final workshop Co-organiser.
- 2010, Advisory meeting on Access & Benefit-Sharing, Paris
- 2010, 4D4L taxonomic databases meeting, Portugal
- 2009, Project Development Workshop for the Global Taxonomy Initiative in Africa, Nairobi, Kenya. Co-organiser
- 2009, London, e-Biosphere
- 2009, France - TDWG Annual Conference
- August 2008, Nomenclators workshop, Paris
- August 2008, ZooBank workshop, Paris
- March, 2008, Bonn, Germany. Ninth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (representing UK)
- October 2007, USA. TDWG meeting on standards for taxonomic literature
- July, 2007, Paris, France. SBSTTA 13 (representing BioNET-INTERNATIONAL)
- February 2007, Nomina 1 – Encyclopedia of Life advisory group
- November, 2006, GTI Coordination Mechanism, Montreal
- August 2006, Taxonomic Needs Assessment workshop, Aburri, Ghana
- April 2006, Taxonomic Needs Assessment workshop, Accra, Ghana
- March, 2006, ANDINONET planning workshop, Curitiba, Brazil
- March, 2006, Curitiba, Brazil. Eighth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (representing BioNET-INTERNATIONAL)
- February, 2006, GBIF/FAO planning workshop on International Pollinators Initiative, Rome.
- February, 2006, Advisory Group meeting, BioNET INTERNATIONAL, Egham (Chair)
- April 2005, CBoL advisory group, Fort Royal, USA
- April, 2005, GBIF Science Planning meeting, Brussels
- October, 2004, GTI Asian Workshop, Wellington, New Zealand (facilitator)
- April 2004, GBIF Science Planning Meeting, Oaxaca, Mexico
- May, 2003, Washington, D.C., USA, second ‘E-type’ workshop, ALL-species Foundation (invited participant and speaker)
- May 2003, London, UK, 2010 – The Global Biodiversity Challenge (working meeting organised by WCMC and CBD)
- February 2003, Paris, France. Follow-up workshop to 3GTW (organiser, chair)
- November 2002, Washington, D.C., USA, ‘E-type’ workshop, ALL-species Foundation
- October 2002, Beltsville, USA, ‘Systematics Summit’ – international advisory group to Beltsville Agricultural Research Centre to develop a 10-year vision for systematics research in the USDA.
- October, 2002, Formulation workshop for technical cooperation network for taxonomy in ANDEAN countries (‘ANDINONET’) (invited speaker)
- July, 2002, Pretoria, South Africa, Scientific and Technical Advisory Group for the Outreach and Capacity Building programme of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility
- May, 2002, Rabat, Morocco, Formulation workshop for technical cooperation network for taxonomy in North Africa (‘NAFRINET’) (invited speaker)
- March, 2002, Sydney, Australia, Scientific and Technical Advisory Group for the Electronic Catalogue of Names programme of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility
- March, 2002, The Hague, Holland. Sixth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (representing SCBD)
- February 2002, Montreal, Canada, Informal meeting on formats, protocols and standards for the improved exchange of biodiversity information.
- February 2002, Kyoto, Japan, Open meeting on Species 2000 Asia-Oceania.
- February 2002, Kyoto, Japan, Advisory Group on MEXT project "Initiative on Biodiversity Information Facility".
- November 2001, Montreal, Canada, Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice to the Conference of the Parties on the Convention on Biological Diversity (representing SCBD)
- September 2001, Chatham House, London, workshop on ‘Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in the UK’ (invited participant)
- August 2001, Tokyo, Japan, Workshop on Biological Specimens and Data Management for Biodiversity Studies (DIWPA-IBOY) (Invited speaker)
- July, 2001, DEFRA, London, scoping meeting for workshop on implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity in the UK (invited participant)
- July 2001, Beijing, China, Formulation Workshop for technical cooperation network for taxonomy in East Asia (EASIANET) (invited speaker)
- May 2001, St Petersburg, Russia, Informal meeting on a BioNET- INTERNATIONAL Loop in countries of the former Soviet Union (invited speaker)
- March 2001, Cape Town, South Africa, African Workshop on the Global Taxonomy Initiative (facilitator, SCBD)
- March 2001, Montreal, Canada, Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice to the Conference of the Parties on the Convention on Biological Diversity (representing SCBD)
- February 2001, San Jose, Costa Rica, Central America Workshop on the Global Taxonomy Initiative (facilitator, SCBD)
- November 2000, Berlin, Germany, Major Systematic Entomology Facilities Group.
- October 2000 Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Workshop on GTI in the European Union
Editorship and editorial boards