Thursday, February 16, 2006


The way we do taxonomy (and to a certain extent systmatics) hasn't changed for over 200 years and yet other sciences (Is taxonomy a science?) have changed tremendously in several decades, think of the field of genetics for example. I believe this is because genetics has embraced a range of new technologies whereas taxonomists are set in their ways and any changes to the way they do things are fought against even if the chanes could make their work more efficient. One particular example, is the way they have fought against which in my view could provide a very valuable technology for sorting of large numbers of unknown specimens prior to more traditional morphological species identification and naming (see the barcoding of life initiative).
Other technologies that they have been slow to embrace, are the web and oline publishing. The web provides an ideal working platform for a field like taxonmy as it enables the dessimination of work across the world instantaneously. Rather than needed to travel across the world to search through publications and specimens draws, the web and online publishing could facilitate the sharing of information.
I think this is a topic that will be blogged sporadically as it is dear to my heart.

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