The current Coleoptera (beetle) Taxonomic Working Group of the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) has been active since June 2001. It consists of a core group of students and researchers, headquartered at the Louisiana State Arthropod Museum (LSAM), Baton Rouge, LA and is supported by a network of 42 specialists worldwide. Our starting point was ≈700 species based mainly on specimens collected prior to 2001 and deposited in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) museum. Our current beetle count for GSMNP is 2131 species from 103 families. Using periodic species accumulation analyses plus independent work by cooperators, we have documented ≈1400 new species records for the park and 16,370 specimen records in our Biota® relational database. This includes 42 species new to science. We predict the total beetle diversity for the park will be ≈3000 species based on extrapolation of data for the 15 largest families in eastern North America. Most additional records are expected from taxonomic work on the following families: Staphylinidae (rove beetles), Curculionidae (weevils, bark, and ambrosia beetles), Tenebrionidae (darkling beetles), Scarabaeidae (scarab beetles), Latridiidae (minute scavenger beetles), and Ptiliidae (feather-winged beetles). Progress has been hampered by a lack of taxonomic expertise and logistical problems associated with large specimen volumes. The former problem is society-wide and the latter has been partially solved. The vast majority of specimens processed to date were derived from structured protocols conducted during the initial phase of the ATBI. Current and future efforts will be focused on samples collected during organized beetle bioblitzes and/or using specialized techniques targeting taxa that cannot be obtained using mass-collecting methods.
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Vol. 6 • No. sp2