New Species -Search

music
ambience Madagascar Forest
Around the world, scientists are searching for new species of animals, trying to take advantage of a unique moment in time. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

“The search for new species is pressing right now because of the decline that’s going on throughout most parts of the world, particularly of the loss of pristine forests.”

Christopher Raxworthy is the associate curator of Herpetology at the American Museum of Natural History.

“We’re really one of the last generation of biologists that will have an opportunity to, for example, establish new reserves and set up conservation programs which conserve this incredible amount of diversity which is out there, particularly in tropical areas. So for example, a hundred years from now, the options that will be available in terms of setting aside forests for protected areas is going to be far, far less than we have available to us. Now what that also means is that with the options that we have available, we need to make smart decisions, and that means we need to have good information on the distribution of species. If we’re making guesses, we can be sure that the conservation programs, the reserves that we’ll establish, are going to be that much less efficient. So we want to have really good information and we need to make decisions urgently, and that creates a conflict. We don’t have enough biologists, enough trained people to actually go out and do these intensive surveys, and we have to make pressing decisions. And if we have a way of actually accelerating species discovery, discovery of new species by using, for example, satellite technology, that’s an added bonus. So for example, if you can actually make predictions about where you think new species are going to be found, go there, find them, and then get that area set aside as a reserve including those new species, you’ve right there captured another important part of the island’s biodiversity that otherwise might be lost.”

Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

New Species -Search

Scientists are searching for new species of animals, trying to take advantage of a unique moment in time.
Air Date:09/19/2005
Scientist:
Transcript:

music
ambience Madagascar Forest
Around the world, scientists are searching for new species of animals, trying to take advantage of a unique moment in time. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

"The search for new species is pressing right now because of the decline that's going on throughout most parts of the world, particularly of the loss of pristine forests."

Christopher Raxworthy is the associate curator of Herpetology at the American Museum of Natural History.

"We're really one of the last generation of biologists that will have an opportunity to, for example, establish new reserves and set up conservation programs which conserve this incredible amount of diversity which is out there, particularly in tropical areas. So for example, a hundred years from now, the options that will be available in terms of setting aside forests for protected areas is going to be far, far less than we have available to us. Now what that also means is that with the options that we have available, we need to make smart decisions, and that means we need to have good information on the distribution of species. If we're making guesses, we can be sure that the conservation programs, the reserves that we'll establish, are going to be that much less efficient. So we want to have really good information and we need to make decisions urgently, and that creates a conflict. We don't have enough biologists, enough trained people to actually go out and do these intensive surveys, and we have to make pressing decisions. And if we have a way of actually accelerating species discovery, discovery of new species by using, for example, satellite technology, that's an added bonus. So for example, if you can actually make predictions about where you think new species are going to be found, go there, find them, and then get that area set aside as a reserve including those new species, you've right there captured another important part of the island's biodiversity that otherwise might be lost."

Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.