Terry Erwin

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Terry Erwin

"Research Entomologist, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences and the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard

"Early in his career, Erwin solved the intractable taxonomy of the California Bombardier Beetles which led to long term study of Neotropical beetles and a lifetime study on the biodiversity of Neotropical forests. With the publication of a small paper in 1981 on the beetle fauna of a species of Panamanian tree, Erwin created a cottage industry in canopy studies and in trying to estimate the number of species on the planet. He had hypothesized The1981 paper hypothesized that there were perhaps as many as 30,000,000 species rather than the 1.4 million described at the time - an order of magnitude difference. This paper generated a lot of activity in the conservation business because many people realized that landscape conversion was having a more significant impact on biodiversity than previously thought. Erwin continues his studies of biodiversity in the western Amazon Basin, at present in Ecuador, and does taxonomic studies on carabid beetles." [1]

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  1. Directors, Cached Page (2007), accessed October 15, 2008.