VINST – Virtual Institute of Spider Taxonomy Research
The Virtual Institute of Spider Taxonomy Research was founded in 2016 to accelerate taxonomic research on spiders. This innovative approach supports the investigation and conservation of the world’s biodiversity. Habitat protection relates to species protection and only known species can effectively be protected, thus, a first step towards conservation of biodiversity includes taxonomic research to identify species. Spiders are the most species-rich terrestrial invertebrate group after insects and an excellent taxon to test and recommend such an accelerated approach as a blueprint for global biodiversity research.
Natural history museums and other scientific institutions with leading spider taxonomists are expert partners of the Virtual Institute. They supervise young scientists such as PhD students and postdocs and perform taxonomic projects which are granted by the Virtual Institute to increase the number of described spider species considerably. This trains young scientists as experts in spider taxonomy and it will support natural history museum research, especially in developing countries. This will also boost conservation actions, especially regarding local habitat protection.