Date of this Version
Comparative Parasitology (2002) 69(2): 124-131.
Burgeoning awareness about biodiversity emphasizes the fundamental importance of museum collections and the contributions of systematists and taxonomists in documenting the structure and history of the biosphere. An essential role is served by this infrastructure in collecting, preparing, analyzing, and disseminating information about the specimens that represent species, document a range of complex biological associations from symbioses to parasitism, and form the tapestry and the myriad facets of biodiversity (e.g., Wilson, 2000). As parasitologists we can examine how we may contribute to this broader documentation and understanding of global biodiversity, and we can articulate and communicate our role as vital participants to a larger community (e.g. Brooks and Hoberg, 2000, 2001). This becomes increasingly important as we continue to recognize that the effects of parasites on humans, domestic animal food resources, and wild biodiversity are a major international concern in this time of dynamic environmental change. At the international level parasites are now viewed as significant components of biodiversity that must be included in plans for survey and inventory, conservation, and other national needs focused on understanding environmental integrity and ecosystem function (e.g. Just, 1998; Pérez-Ponce de León and Garcia-Prieto, 2001a, b, and references therein).