In Support of Mammalogy at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

WHEREAS, biologists from the National Museum of Natural History have played a long and important role in the American Society of Mammalogists since they hosted the founding meeting of the Society in 1919; and

WHEREAS, Smithsonian mammalogists continue this tradition with two having served as vice-president and president, three currently serving on the Board of Directors, one serving as ombudsman, and 8 serving on 11 standing committees of the Society; and

WHEREAS, Smithsonian mammalogists have been recognized by the American Society of Mammalogists with the Merriam Award for excellence in research, the Jackson Award for service to the Society, and Honorary Membership for overall excellence in research; and

WHEREAS, mammalogists at the Smithsonian have contributed as authors and editors to recent and soon to be published books such as Mammal Species of the World, the Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals, the Mammals of South America, Bats in Question, Whales in Question, Common Names of Mammals of the World, Handbook of Mammals of the World, and Mammals of Africa; and

WHEREAS, Smithsonian mammalogists maintain important sites on the World Wide Web that are used extensively by mammalogists for information and communication; and

WHEREAS, the mammal collection of the Smithsonian is the largest in the world, studied by approximately four hundred university scientists each year to address questions critical to their research; and

WHEREAS, these collections are expertly maintained by the curators and collection staff of the Smithsonian as a service to the academic community; and

WHEREAS, mammalogists at the Smithsonian Institution have a long history of participating in the preparation of exhibits, including the recent renovation of the Rotunda in the Natural History Building, and are currently advising on content of a new Hall of Mammals scheduled for completion in late 2003; and

WHEREAS, the excellence and diversity of the staff of the National Museum of Natural History, their many significant contributions to the increase and diffusion of knowledge, their critical role in basic research on mammals, and their support of the research of mammalogists world-wide appear not to be recognized or appreciated by the current Smithsonian administration;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the American Society of Mammalogists, assembled at their 81st Annual Meeting at the University of Montana, Missoula, on 16–20 June 2001, urges the Regents of the Smithsonian Institution to review carefully any plans to restructure science at the Smithsonian, to make certain that there is not an unnecessary separation of science from the public exhibits, and that the Smithsonian continues the Congressionally mandated maintenance of the National Collections to assure the continuation of the important contributions of the Smithsonian to systematic, ecological, and conservation research in mammalogy.