Status of Plant Systematics

Susan Farmer sfarmer at SABRE.GOLDSWORD.COM
Fri Aug 29 11:20:50 CDT 1997

much useful stuff snipped

>Aside from practical concerns, I reiterate my original conceptual concern:
>that it is illogical for a discipline that has diversity as its centerpiece
>to devolve to a condition where all its practioners MUST adopt just one of
>many possible approaches in order to survive.  Is there ONE graduate student
>out there who was NOT told "You'd better include molecular techniques or
>you'll never get a job."

Once again I get to butt in and raise my hand and say ME!  My major professor
who does do molecular work, has *never* told me that.  But then he does
alpha taxonomy too.

>Even those of us who do not employ such
>techniques reluctantly tell our students that.  Is there a systematics
>position at a major university in this country that has NOT been filled by a
>molecular systematist in the last five years?  Has there been one
>departmental search committee that has said, "By God, what we need around
>here is a good monographer?"  Answer these questions honestly, and you'll
>see why some of us are concerned. We are putting all our eggs in one basket,
>and I fear that will cause us problems someday.

I am afraid that I can't answer the other questions as positively.  :-(
But, as for myself, I've never been hit over the head with molecular
systematics.  I'd like to do some molecular work just to see what it shows;
but, as my biometry professor said, "If you don't know your critters, all
your statistics are JUST numbers."

Don't give up guys, there are grad students out there who want to learn
Classical Taxonomy.  You just might have to look a little to find us -- just
like we have to look a little to find y'all.

Susan Farmer, grad student

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