Thursday, 1 October 2015

Paul Schoolmeesters, Catalogue of Life Knight - 15 Years of up-to-date Scarab Data

Catalogue of Life CD launch 2000
Paul Schoolmeesters was one of first data providers in the Catalogue of Life. His Scarabs database was published in very first 2000 Annual Checklist. He has continued to be a very active Global Species Database custodian and the World Scarabaeidae Database has been updated every year since then and now twice a year! 

At the Catalogue of Life Global Team Meeting in Oostende this year he was  awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for his 15 years of contribution to the Catalogue of Life. As Yuri Roskov, the Executive Editor, affectionately calls him, he is a Catalogue of Life Knight. Paul also kindly agreed to fill in a short questionnaire about his database and his impressive achievement as an individual contributing a database of more than 38,000 species can be seen below.

Global Species Database name: Scarabs: World Scarabaeidae Database

Your name:  Paul Schoolmeesters

Your occupation and favourite hobby: Retired, Coprophagous Scarabs and travel

Where are the databases located? Belgium, Herent (my home)

What taxon/taxa do your databases cover? Scarabaeoidea (Lucanidae, Passalidae, Scarabaeidae etc.)

How many species names do you hold? 38266 and 2474 intraspecific species (23.03.2015)

How many synonyms? 15587

How many common names? 451

How and when did the database come about? Personal interest and meeting the late Frank Bisby at the beginning of Sp2000 in 1999 as inspiration
Paul Schoolmeesters

How many people work on the database? Only one

What software do you use? Microsoft Access

How complete is it? 99 % (I don't believe in 100%)

Is it continuing to grow and if so, how? Daily, new species, new synonyms, new distribution, new status, new combinations

Are there any interesting areas of taxonomic contention within your group? The different opinion of people on taxonomy (American versus European scientist)

Do you have a favourite species or group of taxa? Aphodiidae

What interested you in taxonomy? I regard this as a basis of the study of biodiversity and life

Do you think traditional taxonomy has a future? I hope so, unfortunately there is little interest from governmental side (collections no longer well financed or not at all, museums closing by lack of funding, staff lacking)

What is the most exciting recent taxonomic development in your group (if any)? Any revision is exciting, regarding the number of new species

If you had the funds what improvements (if any) would you make to the database? Expand the information

Why did you submit your data to the Catalogue of Life? I believe that the Catalogue of Life is essential to the community, and someone has to do it

What you would like to improve in the Catalogue of Life? Expansion of information

What message you would like to send the CoL users? Being more involved by comments

Do you submit to any other biodiversity aggregators than the Catalogue of Life? Not at the moment

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