今日主題:世界第六次物種大滅絕 無脊椎動物成「被遺忘」的受害者

Invertebrates Are Forgotten Victims of "Sixth Extinction"
世界第六次物種大滅絕 無脊椎動物成「被遺忘」的受害者

When you think endangered species, which come to mind? Tigers? Pandas? Gorillas? I'm guessing what probably does not are Hawaiian land snails. Yet a new analysis in the journal Conservation Biology suggests that some 95 percent of known Hawaiian land snails in the Amastridae family could already be gone.

"That's a horrible level of extinction." Robert Cowie, a biologist at the University of Hawaii.
Cowie and his colleagues came up with the 95 percent figure by convening the world's foremost experts on Hawaiian land snails—that is, the dozen or so scientists and naturalists who study the creatures. Through a series of interviews and hundreds of field surveys of the islands, they took their best guess as to whether each of the 325 documented species in the Amastridae family still existed. They think only 15 are still alive, leaving 310 in the "probably extinct" category.
考伊和他的同事們召集了世界上著名的夏威夷陸地蝸牛方面的專家,然後提出了95%這樣的數據——也就是一批或很多研究這種生物的科學家和自然學家。經過一 系列的採訪以及上百次的實地考察,他們猜測同紋螺科中325中檔案記錄的蝸牛物種是否尚存。結果,他們認為,只有15種尚存,其餘的310種可能已經滅絕 了。

There is an organization that officially counts this stuff: the International Union for Conservation of Nature. But the Union lists only 33 of the 325 species as extinct—a gross underestimate, in Cowie's view. And therein lies the problem, he says. Invertebrates, including snails, make up the lion's share of the world's biodiversity. But there's hardly anyone to catalogue it.

"It's a tiny, tiny number of people relative to the vast extent of invertebrate biodiversity." And to get an organism onto official endangered lists, you need data to document its disappearance. Data that just aren't there for many invertebrates, due to the labor shortage. "In my more cynical, negative days I throw up my hands and say, why do we even bother? Because we're not going to be able to halt this, to turn around this process. But if you care about this you just can't give up."
「只有寥寥數人從事無脊椎動物生物多樣性的工作。」而需要正式統計該生物滅絕的清單,則需要記錄這些物種消失的記錄。但是由於沒有足夠的人員進行相關的研 究,很多無脊椎動物根本沒有數據啊。「在我悲觀無助的日子裡,我攤開雙手說到,為什麼我們就不嫌麻煩?因為我們沒有能力去阻止這件事兒,去改變這個過程。 但如果你關心這件事兒,你就會根本不會放棄」

And this approach, he says, an almost folkloric reconstruction of what's out there, may be the only way to fully understand the species we're losing. Before they're known only from fossils.



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