Justification for Large-Scale Approach
Planetary Biodiversity Inventory: Plant Bugs

As we have documented above, the last 30 years have witnessed the acquisition of sub-stantial well-documented specimen materials, tremendous advances in descriptive taxonomy, and greatly improved predictivity in higher classification for the Orthotylinae and Phylinae. Nonetheless, the taxonomic process still functions in much the same way it did 50 or more years ago. If a coherent body of knowledge for large world-wide taxa such as the Orthotylinae and Phylinae is going to be made available on a timely basis, as envisioned under the PBI program, the taxonomic enterprise must begin to function on an "industrial" scale. Furthermore, the technology necessary to create and maintain large databases, libraries of digital images, and interactive web-based mapping and identification keys cannot be mastered by an individual investigator; the work must be done by teams with taxonomic as well as technological skills.

Our project team includes 5 senior investigators with a total of 113 years experience working on the Miridae; all of them have combined the results of extensive fieldwork with their published taxonomic research. We have commitments of participation from 3 postdoctoral investigators, each with a strong commitment to heteropteran systematics and biology, a record of research achievement, and technical and linguistic skills that will add to the potential success of this PBI project. Also involved will be 6 PhD candidates and at least 3 minority undergraduate students. To assure that technological aspects of the project will succeed, we include a "website specialist" and draw on the considerable information technology resources of the AMNH and the Australian Museum (see Supporting Documentation). A complete listing of all personnel and responsibilities is given in Table 5 of the Project Management Plan. We believe that our per-taxon cost <$500, including personnel costs, is competitive with comparable NSF programs, such as PEET, and that our budget is adequate for the completing the project as described.

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