The global change Kolloquium starts with the following lecture on Wednesday 17.05.2017 at 6:00 pm in the conference room LD C1 (1).
Dr. Axel Hochkirch, Trier University, Department of Biogeography, will present a talk on „The (unknown) conservation status of the smaller majority: Challenges in invertebrate conservation„.
The global loss of biodiversity is one of the major challenges to humankind. However, while the vast majority of species on earth are invertebrates, conservation efforts still focus on charismatic flagship species, such as large mammals, birds or some plants. Conservation action for invertebrates mainly exists in north-western Europe, parts of North America and New Zealand, whereas virtually no conservation efforts for invertebrates exist in the tropical hotspots of biodiversity. Invertebrate conservation is hampered by several knowledge gaps: (1) The majority of species (probably 80-90%) is still undescribed (taxonomic impediment), (2) Knowledge on the distribution of most species is scarce (many species are only known from type specimens), (3) The ecology (particularly the habitat requirements) of most species is poorly understood, and (4) data on the population trends and conservation status is missing for the majority of species. Furthermore, there is a lack of public awareness of the ecological importance of invertebrates and the ecosystem services they provide. The most comprehensive and widely recognized approach for evaluating the conservation status of species is the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The high profile and scientific integrity of the IUCN Red List is maintained by a clear and transparent assessment process following clear criteria that have been derived from a scientific background (population viability analyses). About 85,000 species have been assessed for the IUCN Red List so far, including ca 18,600 invertebrate species. While this merely represents 1.4% of the hitherto described invertebrate species, more than one quarter of them have been assessed as Data Deficient, highlighting the chronic lack of data. This lecture provides an overview on the existing invertebrate conservation actions within the IUCN, including the establishment and maintenance of specialist groups, red list assessments of invertebrates, strategic conservation planning for threatened invertebrate species, implementation of appropriate conservation management, associated research and monitoring as well as raising awareness of the diversity, importance and threats of invertebrates.