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The Goblin Spider PBI: Some 30 investigators from 10 countries are jointly tackling what may
be the most ambitious project on spider systematics ever attempted: a Planetary Biodiversity
Inventory (PBI) of the goblin spider family Oonopidae.
Preliminary data suggest that the 459 previously described species represent only about 20% of the actual
diversity of the group. The team is assembling and sorting the specimens available in collections and will acquire
new material through 12 expeditions that will concentrate on securing samples of forest floor and canopy-dwelling
species. Team members are building Internet-accessible databases of the species, all specimen locality data, and
images; a new application will allow team members to enter descriptive data into a multi-user database, in a highly
structured format that will allow direct use of that information in formal descriptions for publication, on species web
pages, in phylogenetic analyses, in interactive keys,
and in automated identification systems.
This PBI is enabled by support from the National Science Foundation.