Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fish for Sale

Here is an new development of using the descriptions of new species for fundraising. This in itself can be discussed, but here is an implication for CC and a responsibility of those getting money from creating biodiversity data.

There is also the fear, that similar to the detrimental effect for collecting permits created in the late eighties by pointing out that biodiversity has to be protected, because bioprospecting will be a gold trough which did not materialize, that spending so much money on something which has no real value - there are hundreds of ants species without names only in Madagascar, and literally millions of unnamed species - could lead to the same abyss, that is the believe of the local government, that in every piece of nature there are dollars, and thus they introduce even more stringent rules to collect specimen for scientific and conservation purposes.

The original text in the official "The blue auction" Website leaves a door open to siphon off money from this auction for "other environment and biodiversity-related programs" such as running a big NGO?

Fish for Sale, Nature Sept 13, 2003

I would like to see how much money is feeding back to the actual underlying systematics, not just cool expeditions, and with that, how much money is disappearing for other purposes. Since Conservaton International is member of the Conservation Commons, I also wonder, what CI is doing to provide open access to not only the publication, but the entire data collected during this and in fact all of their expedition. A benchmark we actually could measure is when such CI data is accessible through GBIF. I will get back on this in 6 months.

here the text:
"Over the years, philanthropists have lent their names to art galleries, schools and hospitals. But in a watershed auction, the world's rich will be able to add their names to several new species of fish — all in the name of charity.

On Thursday 20 September, an auction to name ten new species of fish is being held by the Monaco-based Monaco-Asia Society, a non-profit organization devoted to Asian causes and Conservation International, based in Arlington, Virginia. The fish are a few of the dozens discovered by Conservation International during expeditions to reefs off the coast of Indonesia's Papua Province in 2006.

Bidders will arrive from around the world for a gala at Monaco's Oceanographic Museum, which sits on a bluff high above the Mediterranean Ocean. Prince Albert II will be in attendance, and auction house Christie's will oversee the bidding pro-bono.

This isn't the first auction for a species name. For example, in 2005 an anonymous online bidder won the right to name a new kind of Bolivian monkey for a charitable donation of US$650,000. But this is the first time that multiple species will be auctioned in a single event, according to Monaco-Asia Society president Francesco Bongiovanni.

There's nothing wrong with naming an animal after the rich and famous, says Andrew Polaszek, executive secretary at the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature in London. The only technical requirements, he says, are that the name must have a generic and specific part and be published in a paper or monograph — something that Conservation International will presumably do. Species are routinely named after famous scientists, and one species of cave beetle is even named after Adolf Hitler. He says that "you can essentially name a species anything you want".

Bongiovanni says he hopes the gala will raise US$1.2-1.4 million for further expeditions and conservation efforts in the region. But is it fair to name a species after a wealthy patron, rather than the scientist who discovered or described it? Bongiovanni says yes — especially because it is all for the greater good of the fish. "At the end of the day," he says, "these species need names."

Sept. 20
here is what Piotr Nascrecki's replied:
"All data collected by CI during its surveys is, and has always been, publicly, freely accessible, both as formatted reports, which can be downloaded as PDFs in_hi_userid=122818&cached=true>, and as "raw" data , which also can be downloaded as data files.
Now it is up to GBIF to make a link to these data."

and here my reply:


Always does not exist. When (exact date) has this been made accessible.

Why it is it, that this data has "always" been accessible through Harvard, and not CI- that is why do you use not even a CI name, since the root of this address is Harvard?

Where is a link on CI to this database?

Why does the Way Back machine at archive.org not show any trace of the Site you cite? http://web.archive.org/web/*/
Conservation.org latest entry is Jul 08.

GBIF and others are not made to access pdfs, but you can communicate using a digir or Tapir protocol. And the database you have does not allow to do this. An institution like yours could use this to become a real player in the global biodiversity community.


Post a Comment

<< Home