Profile: Norman Platnick

Dr. Norman Platnick’s current research focuses on the spider family Oonopidae (the goblin spiders). He heads a National Science Foundation-funded Planetary Biodiversity Inventory project that aims to complete a global revision of these spiders over the next five years. Over 30 arachnologists in ten countries are involved in the project. Although only about 500 species of these small spiders have been described, Dr. Platnick and his colleagues estimate that there are about 2,500 species, most of which are expected to have very small geographic ranges and are therefore likely to be highly informative for studying historical biogeography and establishing conservation priorities.