A survey of terrestrial Arthropoda in Chilean temperate forests
This project is supported by the USA National Science Foundation DEB-0445413
Biological diversity is in global crisis and its conservation requires prioritizing areas for protection. It is urgent to inventory the Chilean Forest because holds unique biodiversity. Chile, isolated biogeographicaly from the rest of the Southamerican continents was part of Gondwana land, then it has close relatives in New Zealand, New Caledonia and Australia. Chile is one of the 200 global priorities areas of the planet. For information, or material contact Dr. Elizabeth Arias etarias@berkeley.edu or Professor Kipling Will kiplingw@nature.berkeley.edu
Products and contributions from this project:
To understand and appreciate the diversity of arthropods from any of our world's biodiversity hotspots we must immediately begin to sample them and get those samples to active research programs and to museums where future research programs will have access to them. This is particularly urgent in parts of the world where suitable habitat is dwindling and threatened by global warming, invasive species and conversion by humans.

This project has made significant progress by increasing the knowledge of the heart of biodiversity of the southern temperate forests in Chile. This habitat is known to be at great risk. The present survey developed a partnership of US and foreign institutions that made it possible to greatly increase the state of our knowledge of Chilean biological diversity. The project sent thousands of specimens worldwide. These specimens will provide the nucleolus for numerous studies that range from the description of new taxa to understanding basic ecological structures of communities. Preliminary and published findings on taxonomy and relationships of species collected during the project reinforce and clarify details of southern connections to Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. This project documented animals of the Valdivian Coastal Temperate Forests that are imperiled due to human disruption and a major freeway construction project. The temperate rain forests are minimally protected from human impact and inevitable impact of global climate change jeopardizes its continued existence, even in the short term. Its recovery remains questionable. At least for more sensitive groups, collected examples of arthropods from these forests are likely to be the only specimens and documented data for future generations. These will be indispensable to understanding the life and the evolutionary of the history of this part of our planet. In particular we have a unique and massive dataset of Coleoptera, an order that exemplifies biological diversity.

Contributions to Human Resource Development:

During this project we trained undergraduate students from Chile and provided opportunities for them to work together with our US graduate and undergraduate students. This interaction and exchange between students from different countries and cultures was an enriching experience for both groups and added to their knowledge and helped build cultural links between the USA and Chile.
Elizabeth Arias,
Associate Specialist
Kipling Will,
Associate Professor

Elizabeth Arias (EMEC) and Mario Elgueta (MNNC)
working on the material collected off season March 2005