Helminthological Society of Washington

"Endorsement by the Helminthological Society of Washington of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park All-Taxa Biotic Inventory (ATBI)"

Journal of the Helminthological Society of Washington. 1998. 66(2):269

The Helminthological Society of Washington, founded in 1910, has a rich and deep tradition of excellence in basic parasitology, focusing on taxonomy, systematics, ecology, and what is now recognized as biodiversity assessment through survey and inventory. Interdisciplinary and crosscutting, parasitology links contemporary biodiversity studies with historical approaches to biogeography, ecology, and coevolution within a cohesive framework. Parasitology, among the most integrative of the biological sciences, provides data critical to elucidation of general patterns of global biodiversity.

The seminal importance of parasitology resides in part on the predictability of life cycles and on patterns of transmission that are dependent on historically continuous trophic associations within ecosystems. Consequently, helminths and other parasites can be indicators of habitat use, endemism, migratory patterns, and food web structure and track broadly and predictably across trophic levels as representatives of biological structure from the level of populations to that of communities. Thus, parasitology has exceptional relevance to broader studies in vertebrate and invertebrate biodiversity.

The Helminthological Society of Washington recognizes the contributions to be made by the Taxonomic Working Groups (TWIGS) for Endoparasites of Vertebrates and Ectoparasitic Arthropods of Vertebrates within the broader context of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSMNP) ATBI. Inclusion of these TWIGS in this biodiversity program has great significance for parasitology and is expected to directly augment TWIGS for free-living invertebrate and vertebrate faunas.

The Helminthological Society of Washington endorses the concept and foundations for GRSMNP ATBI. The Society will urge its membership to participate at appropriate levels in the development of this program to document biodiversity of this unique region of North America. Dissemination of information from the GRSMNP ATBI may be facilitated through peer reviewed publication in the Journal of the Helminthological Society of Washington. The Society will promote the goals of the ATBI and the national and international partnerships for science and education represented by the umbrella project, Discover Life in America, centered at the GRSMNP The Society endorses the broad opportunities for educational experiences linked to biodiversity and conservation management.

Additional information about the Great Smoky Mountain National Park All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory, and the proposed activities of the taxonomic parasitological taxonomic working groups can be obtained from the following Coordinators.

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Updated: 03 March 2005