The need for a (non-destructive) method revolution in entomology#

Read the new publication by Gábor Lövei et al. with the title "The need for a (non-destructive) method revolution in entomology", published by Elsevier.

A B S T R A C T#

There are worrying signs that arthropods are in decline both in density and diversity. This threatens global biodiversity as well as the ecosystem services provided by arthropods. Nonetheless, entomological research, even when studying arthropods with a conservation focus, frequently uses lethal methods. We analysed 1029 articles published in the major biological conservation journals between 2014 and 2020 and found that, while singlespecies- focused studies used more non-lethal than lethal methods (76.3 % vs. 23.7 %, respectively), the opposite was true for multiple-species ones (24.0 % vs. 76.0 %). In tropical regions, 74.6 % of studies used lethal methods vs. 18.5 % non-lethal ones. Of the major orders, Odonata, Lepidoptera and Orthoptera were generally studied using non-lethal methods (88.1 %, 80.7 %, and 70.8 %, respectively) in non-tropical regions, while in the tropics, only Lepidoptera were frequently (51.9 %) studied by such methods. We argue that even if the evidence for arthropod decline were uncertain, and even if research would not add much to the overall level of mortality, entomologists should be showing an example. If research on invertebrates continues to be ethically blind, entomologists risk losing public support for conserving arthropod diversity.

Download the article(info).

About the author#

Trained at the University of Szeged, Hungary, Lövei obtained his PhD on the topic of bird migration, after which he started working in entomology, focusing on biodiversity in agricultural habitats, natural pest control, and feeding ecology of beneficial arthropods in Hungary (until 1989) and Italy (1982-1984).

While resident in New Zealand (1989-1998), he studied agroecology, invasion ecology, and initiated research on the environmental impact of genetically manipulated plants (1994-1998). Since moving to Aarhus University, Denmark, in 1998, he continued to study landscape ecology, ecology of sustainable agriculture, esp. on natural enemy activity, invasion ecology and urban ecology.

Lövei lead international projects on GM risk assessment in Europe, China and Africa, and took leading roles in several European agroecological projects. Between 2006-2012, he was an expert of the EFSA Plant Health Panel, Parma, Italy (Vice Chair 2006-2009).

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