The first red list for insect taxonomists in

image: Entomologist at work in the Hymenoptera collection, housed at the Institute of Animal Systematics and Evolution, Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow.
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Credit: Karolina Fok (Wikimedia Commons link:

Over the past five months, the European Commission-funded Taxonomists’ Red List project has contacted insect taxonomists to invite them to register on the Taxonomists’ Red List portal.

Behind the project is the organization bringing together the most important and largest European collections of natural sciences (CETAF), the world authority on the assessment of the risk of extinction of organisms: the International Union for the Conservation of nature (IUCN) and science publisher with a long history in the fields of biodiversity and ecology Pensoft.

“It has never been clearer that the sustainability of our ecosystems and economies is closely linked to the health of our pollinators and other insects within the complex web of life. It is therefore obvious that ensuring the constant flow of scientific knowledge will be of the utmost importance for everyone,” say the project partners.

“Ultimately, it is the experts who identify insects and investigate their abundance and diversity who are best equipped to inform the community – including key decision-makers – about things like which native species are in urgent need of protection, which these have recently begun to decline, and how to spot invasive species well known for their harm to local biodiversity.The major problem, however, is that these experts themselves are rapidly declining.

After filling in their contact details, such as country of residence and activity, institutional affiliation, seniority, and insect group of interest, more than 1,200 participants provided valuable data needed to estimate the number , the actual location and profile of insect taxonomists based or working in Europe. The final report – which will be published in early 2022 – will also present past and future trends in expertise on the continent and across insect taxa. A comprehensive list of recommendations will highlight where and what support is needed to prevent the “extinction” of experts and their invaluable contributions to evidence-based conservation efforts.

In particular, the final recommendations aim to highlight all key measures and tools intended to address the identified gaps at national and pan-European level, including the use of relevant funding schemes. The report will also include an estimate of the associated efforts and costs.

In the meantime, a webinar to be held in January 2022 will bring together various relevant specialists in the field, including taxonomy experts, academics, CETAF members and representatives of high-level organizations, such as the Intergovernmental Science Platform and policy on biodiversity and ecosystems. Services (IPBES), the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Global Taxonomy Initiative and the League of European Research Universities (LERU) to gather comments and other input before the report and recommendations are made public.


Follow and join the conversation on Twitter using the #RedListTaxonomists hashtag.


Additional information:

CETAF is the European organization of natural history museums, botanical gardens and research centers with their associated natural science collections comprising 71 of the largest taxonomic institutions from 22 European countries (18 EU, 1 EEA and 3 non-EU ), bringing together the expertise of more than 5,000 researchers. Their collections contain a wide range of specimens, including animals, plants, fungi, and rocks, as well as genetic resources that are used for scientific research and exhibitions. CETAF aims to promote training, research collaborations and understanding in taxonomy and systematic biology as well as to facilitate access to our natural heritage by sharing information from collections. Follow CETAF on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

IUCN (the International Union for Conservation of Nature) is a membership union made up of both government and civil society organizations. It harnesses the experience, resources and reach of its more than 1,400 member organizations and the input of more than 17,000 experts. This diversity and vast expertise make IUCN the global authority on the state of the natural world and the actions needed to safeguard it. Follow IUCN on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Pensoft is an independent academic publishing company and technology provider, well known worldwide for its new, cutting-edge publishing tools, workflows and methods for publishing text and data from journals, books and conference papers. Through its Research and Technical Development department, the company is involved in various research and technology projects. Founded in 1992 “by scientists, for scientists” and initially focusing on book publishing, Pensoft is today a leading publisher of innovative open access journals in taxonomy and biodiversity science. Follow Pensoft on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


Iva Kostadinova, [email protected], Pensoft

Ana Casino, [email protected], CETAF

Sarine.Barsoumian, [email protected], IUCN

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