Image © Blanca Huertas

Butterflies are charismatic insects that engage public interest, hence they are used as a flagship for conservation in many developed nations. However, even in butterfly species-rich areas, their full potential has not been quantified due to scarce information and resources available. Whilst most funding programmes prioritise innovative research to mitigate threats for humans and the planet, research to fill knowledge gaps in core disciplines remains undervalued and underfunded. Likewise, building capacity to study biological diversity is also often belittled. Using butterflies, we will present practical examples of the challenges but also opportunities when studying biological diversity in hyper diverse areas.

Dr Blanca Huertas FLS is Senior Curator of Lepidoptera at the Natural History Museum, London. Blanca gained her MSc and PhD from Imperial College. She has worked as a co-ordinator for the Tropical Andean Butterfly Project (Darwin Initiative, UCL), and is a member of the Steering Committee of the IUCN Butterfly Specialist Group and the North American Butterflies Association Scientific Names Committee (NABA).

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