[Taxacom] PS to the above

Bob Mesibov mesibov at southcom.com.au
Thu Feb 18 22:50:53 CST 2010

Greetings, Tony, from the NW of our little island.

"The first thing these managers / policy persons want is to know what biodiversity exists and where." Um, yes, makes them sound like they know what they're talking about in their meetings. But the second thing (what can we *possibly* do about it?) and the third thing (what can we *really* do about it?) have vastly more influence on decision-making than knowing names and locality records.

I'm not being cynical here and saying that science goes out the window when deals get done. I'm saying that conservation planning involves a lot more than taxonomy, and it simply doesn't matter how good the taxonomy is when there are vast gaps in knowledge about species biology, biogeography and causes of decline. You're in a particularly good position to know this, being familiar with the debates about marine reserves in Australia. Informed decision-making at those levels has bugger-all to do with getting names right.

Your decapod crustacean example is more worrying, and you have to ask why the taxonomy hadn't been done well enough to pick up preoccupied names. Bump.
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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