[Taxacom] Sub-professionals

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at mobot.org
Tue Jun 23 10:27:38 CDT 2009

Nice redirection, Bob. My comments were aimed at "subprofessionals,"
however, being those who may not have the professional (lots of
schooling, mentoring, human exemplars) background on how to take care of
oneself. I never identified health-related plants if I could help it,
given litigation possibilities, and used consulting companies for
insurance coverage when doing the occasional environmental assessment
long, long ago. I've always had a herbarium for vouchers documenting
critical decisions. 

I think that a certified identifier, to be well-trained, needs at least
an M.A. in biology and a taxonomy course and formal experience in
collecting and conserving organisms. The certification is already there
if professionalism is of any value. It is as much to protect and
reassure the identifier as those who use his/her services.

Richard H. Zander 
Voice: 314-577-0276
Missouri Botanical Garden
PO Box 299
St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 USA
richard.zander at mobot.org
Web sites: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/
and http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/bfna/bfnamenu.htm
Non-post deliveries to:
Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63110

-----Original Message-----
From: Bob Mesibov [mailto:mesibov at southcom.com.au] 
Sent: Monday, June 22, 2009 6:25 PM
To: Richard Zander; psboegh at snm.ku.dk
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Sub-professionals

Try asking your questions about professional taxonomists. I've rewritten
your comments accordingly:

"Who will certify the taxonomists? Who will pay the taxonomists? Will
there be a national taxonomy board to monitor the results of a national
cadre of taxonomists? Is this to be
a government or NGO project, and will taxes be involved? 

What if there is a major mistake by a taxonomist resulting in death or
loss of money - will the training involve bonding and how much insurance
might be necessary for a taxonomist to take out? Should taxonomists
incorporate to help shield them from being sued?

Identifications, if they are at all important (e.g. public health,
invasive species needing expensive extirpation, poison control), should
be based on voucher specimens deposited at public-accessible
collections. Who will fund the collections or collections institutions?
Pay per deposit? Who will pay the curators of the collections on which
taxonomists base their decisions? 

I think what might help promote support for the idea is that the
proposers of professional taxonomic training provide us with at least
one complete scenario, with sources of personnel and financial support
clearly given, such that we see one version of a complete taxonomist
training program, instance of identification, deposition of voucher, and
result of the identification."

More information about the Taxacom mailing list