|BALKE, M. - University Of Munchen|
|SCHMIDT, S. - University Of Munchen|
|BERGSTEN, J. - The Swedish Museum Of Natural History|
|HAUSER, C. - Museum Of Naturkunde|
|KROUPA, A. - Museum Of Naturkunde|
|RIEDEL, A. - Museum Of Naturkunde|
|POLASZEK, A. - Natural History Museum - London|
|UBAIDILLAH, R. - Bogor Agricultural University|
|KROGMANN, L. - Museum Of Naturkunde|
|ZWICK, A. - Museum Of Naturkunde|
|FIKACEK, M. - National Museum Czech Republic|
|HAJEK, J. - National Museum Czech Republic|
|MICHAT, M. - Universidad De Buenos Aires|
|DIETRICH, C. - Illinois Natural History Survey|
Submitted to: ZooKeys
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/9/2013
Publication Date: 9/17/2013
Publication URL: http://www.frontiersinzoology.com/content/10/1/55
Citation: Balke, M., Schmidt, S., Bergsten, J., Buffington, M.L., Hauser, C.L., Kroupa, A., Riedel, A., Polaszek, A., Ubaidillah, R., Krogmann, L., Zwick, A., Fikacek, M., Hajek, J., Michat, M.C., Dietrich, C. 2013. A plea for a global natural history collection - online. ZooKeys. 10(55):1-9.
Interpretive Summary: Large collections of insect species are needed for identification and research of species of agricultural importance in the United States. Large collections are expensive to manage and care for, but their importance is recognized globally. This paper demonstrates the need, and methods, for taking high resolution pictures of whole insect drawers as a means of recording the contents of large collections. This not only allows other scientists to digitally ‘sort’ the collection, but allows a collection to have a visual record of their assets. Other research entomologists, web-designers, biological control workers, and extension entomologists will benefit from the methods and concepts presented in this paper.
Technical Abstract: Species are the currency of comparative biology: scientists from many biological disciplines, including community ecology, conservation biology, pest management, and biological control rely on scientifically sound, objective species data. However, large-scale species identifications are often not feasible. Researchers, students, parataxonomists, and enthusiastic amateurs often feel frustrated because information about species remains scattered, difficult to access, or difficult to decipher (e.g. technical jargon; non-native languages). Together, this affects most anyone who wishes to identify species or verify identifications. We argue that the natural history collections are the largest and most important source of biodiversity data (for research but also web-based tools such as GBIF). We suggest putting the pieces together and creating a comprehensive global online collection covering most of the Earth’s species diversity using state-of the art digital imaging technology. Here, we will focus on drawer or tablets-based collections usually used for arthropods and mollusc shells.