fitting acknowledgement for Chris Corben

To: "Peter Menkhorst" <>, <>
Subject: fitting acknowledgement for Chris Corben
From: "Chris Corben" <>
Date: Tue, 3 Nov 2009 10:03:14 -0600
Hi Peter

You are too kind, but many thanks anyway.

I'd like to explain the significance of this paper. Harry Parnaby has taken a species which has traditionally been regarded as widespread in Australia (and outside Australia) and shown that within Australia it is really a complex of at least 3 species. This is sort of analagous to the splitting of the Ground Parrot - you can see the conservation implications!

People on Birding-Aus might get irritated, or hopefully fascinated, by the taxonomic changes which occur in birds. There is only one bat species for every 8 or 9 bird species in Australia, yet a significant proportion of bat species are still not even named. In Brisbane, two of the commonest species have never been named! These are mammals, remember! In Brisbane!

I'd like to present another quote from Harry's paper.

"Despite the implications of unrecognised species for effective conservation management, and consequently the obvious relevance of taxonomic studies, species taxonomy still appears to be perceived as either an irrelevancy, a low priority by managers and funding bodies alike, or as the domain of academic research rather than management, i.e. someone else's problem."

People in general have an over-optimistic view of how well our wildlife resources are cared for. In his paper, Harry gives his address as "Hon. Research Associate" at the Australian Museum. Note the "Hon" bit! He isn't paid to produce a 43 page scientific paper revising the taxonomy of these bats, despite the obvious importance of such work to a basic inventory of Australian wildlife. Yes, well done Harry, and let's hope we live to see better funding for research which is fundamental to our knowledge of wildlife and how to look after it.


Chris Corben.
(named after a bat, I'm told!)


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