By Christina Robertson
Keith Crandall invited students to sort bugs for the Monte L. Bean Museum.
Crandall, a professor of the department of zoology, spoke at the international forum series hosted by the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies on Wednesday, March 21.
Crandall said the Bean Museum has a collection of over one million insects. They are part of biodiversity studies at BYU, he said.
“Biodiversity studies are not simply species counts, but also a look at genetic diversity housed in species,” he said.
Crandall said research is being conducted at BYU and internationally by professors and students.
Studies have been conducted internationally from the Amazon to Madagascar, he said.
“It”s fun to know that I”m getting paid to do what a lot of people pay to do on their vacation,” he said.
Crandall said BYU study programs are international in scope, establish global collaborations and are an excellent opportunity for undergraduates. The programs provide students the chance to meet a diversity of people and cultures, he said.
Cameron Kelsey, 19, a freshman from Green River, Wyoming, majoring in business management, is considering an international field.
He said students are given many educational opportunities by attending BYU. Because of this, he can tell the administration really cares, he said.
The forum reflected these chances, he said.
“I saw it as an invitation to participate, no so much as a cut and dry lecture,” he said.
Crandall said as a group of organisms, students could benefit from knowledge of biodiversity. It will contribute to information necessary to sustain and use species diversity, he said.
“This knowledge will assist in the discovery of new products and the selection of new and improved food crops and medicines,” he said.
Biodiversity studies help in drug and vaccine development along with new collaboration with computer science, he said.
Though it is important to know of the species out there, Crandall said they also exist for aesthetic reasons.
He quoted a message Theodore Roosevelt made to Congress on December 3, 1907.
“To waste, to destroy, our natural resources … will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed,” Roosevelt said.