Specimen collecting – an essential tool

Luiz A Rocha and 124 others, Science 344 :814-815 (2014).


With our ever-increasing footprint, humans now affect even the most remote corners of Earth. Because an estimated 86% of species on the planet remain unknown, our goal should be to document biodiversity as rigorously as possible through carefully planned collections so that it can be effectively preserved and understood. Specimens from collections and their associated data are essential for making informed decisions about management and conservation now and in the future. As a community, we advocate the utmost responsibility and care while making scientific collections. Furthermore, given increasing rates of habitat loss and global change, we believe that responsibly collecting voucher specimens and associated data and openly sharing this knowledge (for example, through GBIF, iDigBio, and VertNet) are more necessary today than ever before.