Dale Parker aa514 at SFN.SASKATOON.SK.CA
Wed Oct 23 08:04:58 CDT 1996

My 2 cents

I am very interested to see that botanists along with other people are
concerned about the quality of identifications done in environmental
consulting companies.  From my experience, aquatic entomology, most of
the people working in these companies have limited taxonomic expertise
or are "forced" to work on groups where they lack sufficient knowledge to
prepare proper taxa lists. The people often have no postgraduate training
and are being placed in charge of large multi million $$$$ assessments.This
of course is all to keep the particular project within budget.  The
results are as expected ambiguous and really of no value to informed
decision makers.

This whole situation is unfortunate as consulting could be a
valuable soruce of material for biodiversity and biogeographic work that
would not be avialable otherwise due to the difficulty in reaching
the various sites.

The lack of respect for taxonomic work is not only found in consulting
companies but also in research institutions where often summer students
with limited training are doing insect identifications.  How much value
will the results be if the taxonomy is wrong?

I think until taxonomic work is given the respect of other types of work
this problem will continue.  And until people with real taxonomic training
start getting the real jobs that count we can have limited confidence
in many reseach projects and environmental impact statements.
Precept of the Greek botanist Isodorus:
"If you do not know the names, the knowledge
of things is wasted."

Dale Parker, Ph.D.

e-mail aa514 at
       parkerd at

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