[Taxacom] The only systematics

Brian O'Meara omeara.brian at gmail.com
Wed Feb 25 16:37:30 CST 2009

Serendipitously, the link seemed to go to all of DEB awards, not just  
"phylogenetic systematics", where there seems to be funding for alpha  
taxonomy of the sort you want. For example, the first grant listed is  
<http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardNumber=0841734>, a  
biodiversity survey of freshwater algae of the Hawaiian islands under  
the Biodiversity Surveys and Inventory program. According to the  
study abstract, "The objectives are to 1) establish long-term  
archived collections of Hawaiian freshwater algae morphological and  
genetic studies, 2) make all data available through a project  
database and website, and 3) describe newly discovered freshwater  
algal taxa from the Hawaiian Islands." This sounds like alpha  
taxonomy to me (describing newly discovered species), plus some  
bioinformatics and training -- "phylogeny" or "evolution" or "tree"  
aren't mentioned at all. There are also the PEET grants (<http:// 
www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5451>), which are due on  
Mar. 2 this year. There is info on other systematics and biodiversity  
grants at <http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=12825>.

Whether NSF funds alpha taxonomy enough, relative to phylogenetics  
and/or all other science NSF funds, is a different question, but I  
don't think one can argue that it only funds investigation of "sister- 
group relationships in systematics."

Brian O'Meara

On Feb 25, 2009, at 5:17 PM, Richard Zander wrote:

> At some point alpha taxonomy (and evolutionary taxonomy and
> biosystematics) has been replaced by phylogenetic systematics in U.S.
> National Science Foundation funding opportunities. Perhaps I am wrong,
> but I see no category on the NSF Web site that supports  
> investigation of
> anything but sister-group relationships in systematics.
> Check out the list of recently funded projects at DEB NSF:
> (hope this URL continues to work)
> http://tinyurl.com/a9hncl
> You should only see "phylogenetic systematics" as a topic heading. Is
> alpha taxonomy now bankrupt and maybe needs a bailout? What do you
> think?
> *****************************
> Richard H. Zander
> Voice: 314-577-0276
> Missouri Botanical Garden
> PO Box 299
> St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 USA
> richard.zander at mobot.org <mailto:richard.zander at mobot.org>
> Web sites: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/
> <http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/>
> and http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/bfna/bfnamenu.htm
> <http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/bfna/bfnamenu.htm>
> _______________________________________________
> Taxacom Mailing List
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
> The entire Taxacom Archive back to 1992 can be searched with either  
> of these methods:
> http://taxacom.markmail.org
> Or use a Google search specified as:  site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/ 
> pipermail/taxacom  your search terms here

Brian O'Meara
Durham, NC

More information about the Taxacom mailing list