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  • The TIGER team at Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens, Thailand.



      (1) Prasit Wongprom (p_wongprom@hotmail.com) is the manager of the sorting pool at Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens (QSBG). He also sorts all taxa that are not Hymenoptera or Diptera. Besides these duties he is currently completing a Master’s degree in spider diversity in Thailand.
      (2) Am Nongpanga Pachey (reset_2519@hotmail.com) is a young entomologist who liaises between QSBG and Department of National Parks (DNP), and to learn to identify families of Hymenoptera and Diptera (Insecta).
      (3) Chaweewan Hutacharern (chahut@csloxinfo.com) is the coordinator of the TIGER project in Thailand. Among many other duties, she makes arrangements with each of the 30 national parks and facilitates arthropod surveys collection; she organizes collection training sessions for the park rangers, and takes care of collection and export permits.
      (4) Pop Thanawat Lertprasert (Thanawat_popeyes@hotmail.com) is one of the IT people at Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens. He helps to solve computer problems and runs the LAN system for the project.
      (5) & (6) Tui Worawut Worakrutpanon (tuy3687@hotmail.com) and Amnuay Wiyana are staff at Lumpang Forest Entomology Research Center being trained in the activities of the TIGER projects so they will be able to introduce similar activities in their center.
      (7) Aui Kanittha (aui06@hotmail.com) is from Khon Kaen Research Station here to learn sorting and cleaning entomological specimens, and identification of specimens to insect orders.
      (8) Toy Rungthiwa Satatha (rungthiwa_satatha@thaimail.com) is the Diptera sorter at QSBG.
      (9) Lumyai Ittichan (saolumyai@yahoo.com) is the head sorter at the Khon Kaen Research Station and is in QSBG to improve her identification skill. She heads a team of up to seven sorters who receive samples from the 10 parks in eastern Thailand that we are currently sampling (2006-2007). They separate the samples into fractions, and sort the large fractions to the ordinal level. Samples are then sent to QSBG for further sorting.
      (10) Wang SaeYang (ravyaj@gmail.com) is the Hymenoptera sorter at QSBG.

  •         This is a time of opportunity and urgency for studies of the world’s biodiversity. Access to some countries and regions is available at an unprecedented level to researchers, making their previously mysterious and unsampled habitats available to investigation. We have a window of opportunity that may not be open for a prolonged period, due to political decisions and habitat destruction due to growing populations that result in deforestation, drained wetlands, pollution, and urban sprawl. The areas of greatest overall species richness in the world are those with tropical forests, as is well documented, and many of these sites also house the greatest number of endemic taxa. Unfortunately, they are often the sites with the highest rates of deforestation and population growth, making study of their fauna a top priority. Southeast Asia is one of the most diverse and important regions for the world's biodiversity, second only to the Neotropical Region. This generalization is based on well-studied groups like vertebrates and plants, but indications exist for similar patterns in butterflies and other insects. For some groups of organisms, Southeast Asia is the most diverse area on the planet, e.g., tiger beetles.



    (Cosmodela aurulenta juxtata photographed by John Moore)

  •         Additionally, although all tropical areas of the world have been poorly sampled for insects (with the exception some showy and medically important insects), Southeast Asia is particularly poorly sampled and important new biological secrets, including vertebrates, are still being discovered. In order to make inroads into our understanding of the arthropod biodiversity of Southeast Asia, we are beginning a collaborative terrestrial arthropod survey of Thailand using the highly successful model of our Colombian project. Thailand has a diversity of habitat types, including tropical rain forest, dry or semi-evergreen forest, montane evergreen forest, coniferous forest, swamp forest (including mangroves), deciduous forest, and savanna. Faunistically, the country falls within two of the top eight biodiversity hotspots as identified by Myers et al. (2000): Sundaland (in the southern peninsula) and Indo Burma (the majority of the country). Thailand is a meeting place of many faunal elements including the Himalayas, east Palearctic and Oriental Regions. Preliminary collections in February 2005, have uncovered some fantastically rare and interesting taxa, such as the braconid wasp genera Dirrhope, Ecnomios, Mesostoa, and Meteoridea, and the phorid fly genera Mannheimsia, Gymnoptera, and Postoptica (the last known previously from only two specimens). We have been presented with a great opportunity to conduct biodiversity research in Thailand, as it provides a safe and friendly place to work, , an outstanding network of parks, and passionate collaborators.



    (Cosmodela aurulenta juxtata photographed by John Moore)

  • The project is just beginning, but soon this site will contain the collection data from the TIGER project which includes; interactive keys, a database showing collection and species information (abundance, distribution and elevation) and publications resulting from the efforts.

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