Harvard University's Caribbean Insects: Taxonomic Literature

Also visit the Farrell Lab main page for more information about biodiversity and entomology research at Harvard


The Consortium for Biodiversity of the Caribbean

The Consortium for Biodiversity of the Caribbean (CBC) is an informal consortium of scientists and institutions committed to furthering knowledge of the insects and plants of Hispaniola and the Caribbean and building the capacity of Caribbean scientists to contribute to that knowledge. The CBC consists of the following organizations or institutions: the Departmento Botanica at the Jardin Botanico Nacional (JBN), the Departmento de Entomologia at the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural (MNHN), the Fundación Ecológica Punta Cana / Punta Cana Center for Sustainable Tourism and Biodiversity Laboratory (PCSB), the Departmento de Biologia at the Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo, the Department of Invertebrate Systematics at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh (CMNH), the Department of Entomology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University (MCZ), the Department of Systematic Biology at the Smithsonian Institution (SI), and Conservation International (CI).

Professor Brian D. Farrell of the MCZ serves as acting supervisor and liason. The CBC provides an assembly of personnel and equipment in three database/imaging centers in the Dominican Republic (at JBN, MNHN, PCSB), and assists these centers in achieving the common goals: 1) Complete documentation of native and invasive insect and plant species diversity in Hispaniola via barcoding and imaging specimens in the Dominican National Collections and specimens newly sampled from the National Parks for the database served on the internet at present by the MCZ; and 2) Continually improving the standard of georeferencing and the accuracy in taxonomy and coverage of diversity in the database in a way consistent with the grants that initiated and maintain the centers.

The American centers (CMNH, MCZ, SI) accomplish imaging and databasing of their collections of Caribbean specimens as well as digitizing relevant literature. The CBC has begun with a focus on the Dominican Republic, with a goal of developing materials, protocols and inter-institutional relationships that facilitate expansion to other countries in the Caribbean and elsewhere, as well as to other components of biodiversity.

The ultimate goals for the CBC centers are to provide a complete database of insects and plants of Hispaniola via mechanisms that strengthen Dominican scientists and institutions, and provide documentation of best practices for use in other countries. These practices provide the mechanism for simultaneous digitization of historical and new collections in the DR, with the goal of reaching an eventual equilibrium with new acquisitions and collections. At the same time, each of the CBC centers contributes to this effort in a way that strengthens the personnel and institution via production of deliverable products, such as field guides and posters, based on specimens entered into the database. While the Dominican database and supporting centers are currently managed by the MCZ, the goal is to eventually establish the information technology infrastructure for serving the database on the web from the Dominican Republic, and encourage substantial participation of additional partners or members with the establishment of additional CCB centers in the DR and in Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Cuba.

The stability and information flow of the relationships among biodiversity resources can be visualized as a triangle with national park systems at one corner, the national collections of animals and plants at another and the educational institutions and governmental/non-governmental environmental institutions (the public) at the third.

Biodiversity Goals:

Building an Online Encyclopedia of Life in the Dominican Republic
An article by Brian Farrell in the Fall 2004 / Winter 2005 ReVista.

The Encyclopedia of Life
A review article by Edward Wilson in Trends in Ecology and Evolution (Vol. 18:77-80, February 2003) that summarizes efforts to produce a single-portal online encyclopedia of all life on Earth.

Integrating Science, Education, Conservation and Ecotourism
Poster presented at V Congress Of Caribbean Biodiversity, Santo Domingo, Domincan Republic, January 25-28 2005 (download pdf).

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