Welcome to Project ALAS

The diversity of organisms such as mammals, birds, and trees is fairly well known, and their distributions and population sizes shape our conservation efforts, but diversity of these large organisms is dwarfed by the arthropods.

Arthropods are a sophisticated and powerful conservation tool because of their high diversity, fine-grained response to the environment, and short-term response to environmental change. Arthropods also form a large pool of untapped natural products (pharmaceuticals, other biochemical products, biological control agents).

Unfortunately, our nearly total ignorance of patterns of arthropod diversity and our lack of inventory products (identification tools, locality data, specimens, databases) greatly limit the inclusion of arthropods in conservation applications and natural products development. To address this problem, we initiated the
Arthropods of La Selva Project (ALAS), a large-scale inventory of arthropod diversity in a lowland tropical rainforest.