A roadmap for bridging basic and applied research in forensic entomology.
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The National Research Council issued a report in 2009 that heavily criticized the forensic sciences. The report made several recommendations that if addressed would allow the forensic sciences to develop a stronger scientific foundation. We suggest a roadmap for decomposition ecology and forensic entomology hinging on a framework built on basic research concepts in ecology, evolution, and genetics. Unifying both basic and applied research fields under a common umbrella of terminology and structure would facilitate communication in the field and the production of scientific results. It would also help to identify novel research areas leading to a better understanding of principal underpinnings governing ecosystem structure, function, and evolution while increasing the accuracy of and ability to interpret entomological evidence collected from crime scenes. By following the proposed roadmap, a bridge can be built between basic and applied decomposition ecology research, culminating in science that could withstand the rigors of emerging legal and cultural expectations.