Protecting insect world vital to preserving diversity

National 2 minutes, 27 seconds


GLOBAL invertebrate biodiversity was the focus of a lecture held at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) Faculty of Science building yesterday.

The lecture, titled “Invertebrates as a key-group for Biodiversity Conservation”, was the inaugural lecture held as part of this year’s IBER Seminar Series, organised by the university’s Institute for Biodiversity and Environmental Research (IBER).

It saw three specialists from Czech Republic institutes speaking about global invertebrate biodiversity, with a focus on earwigs (Dermaptera), centipedes (Chilopoda) and millipedes (Diplopoda).

According to Palacky University’s Dr Tomas Kuras, it is essential to protect insects, if we would like to protect diversity as a whole.

Giving an overview of the global diversity of insects, Dr Kuras estimated that insects make up the majority - about 60 per cent - of global diversity. 

“Although the diversity of insects have been described as about one million species, the predicted diversity of insects, which have yet to be discovered or identified, is probably a lot more - about six to seven times more - especially in the tropics,” he said, during his segment.

Among the reasons cited by Dr Kuras for the global diversity of insects were that insects are small in a heterogenic environment with plenty of energy available, as well as the ease of insect dispersability due to their flying ability.

University of Ostrava’s Dr Petr Kocarek spoke about Dermaptera (earwigs) found in Brunei, stating that there was an occurrence of at least 28 species of earwigs (from six different families) found in Sultanate in the past year.

“There has been the occurrence of 87 species of earwigs, from nine different families, noted in literature so far,” Dr Kocarek said.

Dr Kocarek also noted that there is currently no existing literature about the Dermaptera in Brunei.

Meanwhile, Dr Ivan H Tuf, also from Palacky University, gave a talk in which he identified the myriad of different centipede and millipede species.

At the end of the seminar, a question and answer session ensued.

IBER Deputy Director cum UBD Faculty of Science Senior Lecturer Dr Rahayu Sukmaria Sukri told The Brunei Times that the speakers were part of a group of 25 staff and students who had gone to the university’s Kuala Belalong Field Studies Centre (KBFSC) for a two-week field course earlier this month.

Three UBD graduate students had also joined the group during the course.

“The speakers today have an ongoing collaborative research project with two IBER researchers, and visited Brunei last year, for the first part of their research with UBD,” Dr Rahayu explained.

They had been invited to speak as part of this IBER Seminar Series to present their findings from last year’s visit, as well as from this year’s trip to KBFSC.

According to IBER Research Coordinator, Rodzay Hj Abdul Wahab, about 50 participants attended the seminar which had been open to UBD staff and students, as well as members of the public.

The Brunei Times