February 3, 2013

Supporting the Encyclopedia of Life

For the past ten days I have not been able to add more posts to the blog. I do not have any particular "quota" of posts-per-time to fulfill; this blog is a volunteer effort that I do from home in the evenings, and the frequency varies according to my available time. However, ideally I would like to have 4-5 posts/month (about one post/week).

One of the reasons I am a bit delayed is because of spending some time changing the formatting of the blog. [Thanks to my 12 years-old daughter, she convinced me that my sense of style is pathetic, and so I was kind of forced "to improve" the presentation of the blog according to her much better aesthetic opinions].

But the main reason is that I have been exploring ways to contribute contents to the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL). This was always part of my intentions when starting the blog. Many more people go to EOL to look for information about living things than they would ever come to this blog -and rightly so! Thus, it made complete sense for me to (try to) make available information about braconid wasps to as many users as possible. On top of that, EOL has few contents about Braconidae -and especially very few pages about microgastrine wasps. Even the name applied to the subfamily (Microgasterinae) is not the named currently used and accepted (Microgastrinae). See below a copy of that EOL page:



As a result, I will be trying to split my spare time to contribute both to this blog and the EOL. The blog allows me to follow a more flexible format, and to freely choose from a variety of topics I want to address. In the meantime, contents provided to the EOL will follow their standards and format -something I am still learning, thanks to the patience and knowledge of Jennifer Hammock one of the Master Curators of EOL. Often, contents from the blog will be edited and used for the EOL, including photos and information about species. That is the reason why I have added the EOL logo and link to the blog, because it is now a Content Partner of EOL.

To be honest, I am not sure how good this "experiment" will turn out to be, but am going to give it a try. I feel it is part of our duties, as scientists, to communicate to the broadest possible audience, and to use every mean we can to reach them. The more people knowing the wonderful diversity of the species inhabiting the planet, the higher the chances to preserve it for the future. 

2 comments:

  1. Hello Dr. Fernández-Triana,
    For the past few years, and probably for many more years, I had to identify parasitoids (especially Microgastrinae) that emerged from field collected caterpillars (for studies related to biocontrol of crop pest caterpillars). Due to a lack of available keys, and not being a taxonomist, this is a very hard job. It would greatly help if I knew of a key to the genera of Microgastrinae. I was wondering if it was possible for you to give some tips on how to recognize the different genera of Microgastrinae, or at least the most common ones in North America (Cotesia, Apanteles, Pseudapanteles, Microplitis, Microgaster...)? Any help is much appreciated. Thanks!

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  2. Hello Vincent,
    Thanks a lot for your comments about Microgastrinae genera. I will soon start posting tips (including photos) to recognize the different genera. Your work in biocontrol is greatly appreciated, and is also an inspiration for this blog to continue.
    More soon, and thanks again!
    Jose

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