Science in Auction
The naming rights to plants and animals have been put up to auction before. Perhaps most famously, an online auction for the naming of a new species of monkey in Bolivia netted $650,000, with proceeds going towards the protection of the monkey’s habitat. But that was a one-time effort. What we’re aiming at is something much more ambitious: taxonomic tithing: a stepping up to the conservation plate by taxonomists around the world – beginning today and continuing until the final species has been described, roughly five hundred years from now.
To start the taxonomic tithing process in motion, I decided early in 2011 to put two undescribed lichens up for public auction. In doing so, I had the full support of colleagues Leena Myllys and Saara Velmala of Finland, and Ana Crespo, Pradeep Divakar and Mari Carmen Molina and Ana Millanes of Spain, who had recently confirmed them as new to science. After some looking around, I “loaned” the naming rights to these lichens to a pair of deserving conservation groups in British Columbia. The Land Conservancy (TLC) is working to create a permanent wildlife corridor joining the southern portions of my beloved Wells Gray Provincial Park. The Ancient Forest Alliance (AFA) is working to stop the liquidation of British Columbia’s last remaining oldgrowth forests. Each group ran a separate auction, both of which closed on 15 December 2011. Now the astonishing part: taken together these two auctions raised $22,000.00 for wildland conservation in B.C.! Shown here are photos of the two men in whose memory the lichens will be named.
For more details, please have a look at the press release.