[Taxacom] decline and fall of taxonomy

Bob Mesibov mesibov at southcom.com.au
Tue Jun 16 23:42:04 CDT 2009

Donat, your anecdotal evidence that people are attracted to certain projects is very interesting. However every review of taxonomy I have read in the past 15 years tells me that the number of working taxonomists is decreasing. What solid evidence is there that the number of working taxonomists has been increased by the availability of digital tools? Or are you simply hopeful that this will happen?

And once attracted, how are new taxonomists going to make a living as professionals? Is the number of job openings for taxonomists increasing?

Note that I am talking about taxonomy in the traditional sense: the discovery, documentation and classification of life. If you believe that taxonomy includes gathering up COI barcodes and building trees with them without careful study of the whole organisms, let alone formally naming and describing them, then we have another difference of opinion.
Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
(03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195
Website: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/mesibov.html

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