[Taxacom] {Advancing Taxonomy in India}

Haas, Fabian fhaas at icipe.org
Fri Jul 30 06:21:13 CDT 2010


Very good to see that. Hope the Indian Taxonomist are also pressing for a reasonable ABS regulation.
Best Fabian

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan
Sent: Donnerstag, 29. Juli 2010 17:01
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: [Taxacom] {Advancing Taxonomy in India}

Pl. see a report on the National Consultation on'Advancing the Science of
Taxonomy in India for Biodiversity Conservation', held at
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Bangalore on 24
February 2010, published in the latest issue of Current Science.

http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/25jul2010/157.pdf

regards
Priyan

_____________________________________________________________

Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE)
Royal Enclave, Srirampura, Jakkur Post, Bangalore - 560 064, India.
Ph:91-80-23635555
(R) 91-80-23535287; Fax: 91-80-23530070
Other ID: priyadarsan at gmail.com <priyadarsanan at gmail.com>
URL: www.atree.org/priyan.html


On Tue, Mar 2, 2010 at 1:55 PM, Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan <
priyadarsan at gmail.com> wrote:

>
> Pl. see an interesting article worth discussing.
> Priyan
>
> The Study of Species in the Era of Biodiversity: A Tale of Stupidity
>
> Abstract: Research policies ensuing from the Convention on Biological
> Diversity made huge funds available to study biodiversity. These were mostly
> dedicated to projects aimed at providing services to taxonomy via
> information and technology, or to develop "modern", i.e., molecular,
> approaches to taxonomy. Traditional taxonomy was overly neglected and is in
> serious distress all over the world. It is argued that both novel and
> traditional ways to study biodiversity are essential and* that the demise
> of traditional taxonomy (based on phenotypes) in the era of biodiversity is
> the result of an unwise policy, mainly fostered by portions of the
> scientific community that aim at taking total advantage of the funds
> dedicated to the study of biodiversity.*
>
> On Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 4:00 PM, Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan <
> priyadarsan at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>> From: <Tony.Rees at csiro.au>
>> Date: Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 9:50 AM
>> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Clients for biodiversity informatics
>> To: mesibov at southcom.com.au, taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>>
>>
>> Dear Bob,
>>
>> Thanks for your comments. Indeed after sending my earlier post at some
>> ungodly hour of the morning (local time), I did wonder whether I had
>> slightly over-simplified my statement of the audience for this "stuff", and
>> considered posting an amplification - but thought I would let it stand, for
>> the following reason in the main:
>>
>> - A major problem facing the natural world is loss of biodiversity (as has
>> been stated many times on this forum)
>>
>> - The main players capable of halting this are the managers and planners
>> who control national and international activities (e.g. see Convention on
>> Biological Diversity, http://www.cbd.int/ etc., plus relevant national
>> level initiatives)
>>
>> - The first thing these managers / policy persons want is to know what
>> biodiversity exists and where. If we (as biodiversity data generators and
>> managers in the broad sense) cannot get our act together to (for example)
>> determine whether the nnn records of species X, under a bewildering variety
>> of names and formats, actually represent one species or lots, we cannot
>> supply that information (or, as an associated task, retrieve all of the
>> relevant information on that taxon because it resides under many labels).
>>
>> For example: As part of the winding up of the Census of Marine Life
>> program (10 years of new fieldwork, including labour for many taxonomists,
>> plus synthesis of all pre-existing regional information for marine taxa), in
>> my capacity as a Data Manager I have been part of the team trying to
>> assemble a "definitive" (to now) list of marine species for Australia. Guess
>> what is the hardest part (actually 2 parts): (1) finding all of the relevant
>> data in digital form (or digitising it if not), and (2) by far the biggest
>> headache - deduplicating the list - i.e. making sure that the number of
>> entries does not vastly exceed the number of taxa on account of variant
>> names, spellings, ranks (e.g. subgenus <-> genus, infraspecies <-> species),
>> and so on - exactly the type of task that would be hugely simpler with a
>> GNUB or whatever you would like to call it, to do all of the resolution for
>> me. And guess who will (hopefully) be the audience for this:
>>
>> <quote from Bob:>
>> - the general public, which relies on WikiXXXX and isn't often
>> disappointed?
>> - the taxonomic community, which goes to authoritative specialist
>> resources?
>> - the clueless bureaucrats, who see knowledge as power, confuse data with
>> knowledge and aggregate data for its own sake?
>> </quote>
>>
>> ... probably all of the above (once the data plus summary info are
>> available)
>>
>> And guess who will wield the most power in (just possibly) providing the
>> resources to conserve what is most in need of the same?
>>
>> Maybe you can come to your own conclusion.
>>
>> That is not to say that the taxonomists too cannot benefit (a little / a
>> lot) as per Rich's posts. Here's another instance, just from
>> yesterday/today's activities here as it happens:
>>
>> - A team of 13 experts have just (late last year) published the "be all
>> and end all", most up-to-date, authoritative systematic treatment of decapod
>> crustaceans down to genus level. I have just been looking through the 2726
>> genera they list (with relevant higher classification etc.) and comparing
>> these names with names presently on my "IRMNG" master genus list for
>> everything - in principle looking to upgrade my own classification, also add
>> in any names not previously held. In doing this, I discovered 31 potential
>> preoccupied names, potentially of interest to the authors, viz:
>>
>> Alcockia, Allogalathea, Arcotheres, Boreas, Duncania, Eoplax, Euclosia,
>> Feldmannia, Forestia, Forsteria, Laurentiella, Lissopsis, Loerentheya,
>> Meriola, Mithrax, Naxia, Noetlingia, Odhneria, Oxythyreus, Pelagopenaeus,
>> Psaumis, Pseudomicippe, Quadrella, Rathbunella, Stratiotes, Syphax, Thia,
>> Villalobosus, Wanga, Xandaros, Zehntneria
>>
>> Now not all of these will actually be preoccupied (for example the earlier
>> instance of Pelagopenaeus is a nomen nudum), but I am reasonably sure that a
>> good swag of them are (e.g. Alcockia is a valid genus of fish). Also 6 (or
>> possibly 8) misspelled genera too - I will not list them here but again,
>> hopefully of interest to the authors of that paper. Here I should point out
>> that I am by no means an expert on this group, but applying the dreaded
>> "database" approach allows me to rapidly find things that even an expert
>> might have missed.
>>
>> Anyway you can see that I do stand by my original statement, even though
>> in reality there is no doubt that the true applicability of this "stuff" is
>> wider than I stated in fact...
>>
>> Regards from the south of the island,
>>
>> Tony
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Bob Mesibov [mailto:mesibov at southcom.com.au]
>> Sent: Friday, 19 February 2010 2:48 PM
>> To: TAXACOM
>> Cc: Rees, Tony (CMAR, Hobart)
>> Subject: Clients for biodiversity informatics
>>
>> Tony Rees wrote:
>>
>> "The above is just to point out that Rich is over-simplifying if anything:
>> this is the real world situation (of names used as pointers to information)
>> that "Biodiversity informatics" and its clients (generally managers and
>> policy makers who know nothing about taxonomy, and care even less) is making
>> at least some efforts to come to grips with."
>>
>> Was this the GOTCHA! moment? Have the principal beneficiaries of these
>> enormous effort been - at last - revealed? Namely taxonomically clueless
>> bureaucrats?
>>
>> I'm kidding - a little. I've been asking who's going to use the Gigantic
>> All-Species Distributed Database, and for what purposes, for several years
>> on Taxacom, and not getting a clear answer. My main explanation (to myself)
>> has been that the workers in this enterprise really aren't too sure. As with
>> Rich Pyle, it's obvious to them that what they're working toward is better
>> than what we have now, so the projects have a lot of well-founded
>> progressive momentum.
>>
>> Occasionally we get a 'sell' of the enterprise from highly cluey
>> taxonomists like Rich, who can see benefits and use them in his daily work.
>> But a 'sell' is necessary because there is no International Union of
>> Taxonomists which voted unanimously to Go Go Go...Databasing! Not all
>> taxonomists want it, or want to use it, and some (like Stephen Thorpe) are
>> vocally grumbling.
>>
>> I can say without much fear of being stomped on what taxonomists *do*
>> want. They want human-digested and human-processed biodiversity information.
>> They want expert summaries and compilations, not the ability to gather every
>> tidbit of information *de novo* from the entire biodiversity literature.
>> Where these expert summaries and compilations don't exist yet, taxonomists
>> are building them, bottom up, in their own specialised areas or (as in
>> Wikipedia and Wikispecies) in general. There are some really great
>> specialist sites on the Web. No matter how much money gets poured into EoL
>> or GBIF, the acronyms are highly unlikely to achieve the passionate focus,
>> the wise perspective and the high data quality you can find on those
>> specialist sites.
>>
>> Will "managers and policy makers who know nothing about taxonomy, and care
>> even less" visit those sites? I doubt it. Not when they've spent millions on
>> the huge IT projects. So do we finish up with 3 classes of biodiversity
>> information user?:
>>
>> - the general public, which relies on WikiXXXX and isn't often
>> disappointed?
>> - the taxonomic community, which goes to authoritative specialist
>> resources?
>> - the clueless bureaucrats, who see knowledge as power, confuse data with
>> knowledge and aggregate data for its own sake?
>> --
>> 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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>>
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>>
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>>
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>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> __________________________________________________________________
>> Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan
>> Fellow Scientist
>> Insect Taxonomy and Conservation
>> Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE)
>> #659, 5th A main, Hebbal, Bangalore - 560 024, India.
>> Ph:91-80-23530069/23533942/23638771
>> (R) 91-80-23535287; Fax: 91-80-23530070
>> Other ID: priyan at atree.org
>> URL: www.atree.org/priyan.html
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> __________________________________________________________________
>> Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan
>> Fellow Scientist
>> Insect Taxonomy and Conservation
>> Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE)
>> #659, 5th A main, Hebbal, Bangalore - 560 024, India.
>> Ph:91-80-23530069/23533942/23638771
>> (R) 91-80-23535287; Fax: 91-80-23530070
>> Other ID: priyan at atree.org
>> URL: www.atree.org/priyan.html
>>
>
>
>
> --
> __________________________________________________________________
> Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan
> Senior Fellow,
> Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE),
> #659, 5th A main, Hebbal, Bangalore - 560 024, India.
> Ph:91-80-23530069/23533942/23638771
> (R) 91-80-23535287; Fax: 91-80-23530070
> Other ID: priyan at atree.org
> URL: www.atree.org/priyan.html
>



-- 
_____________________________________________________________
Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE)
Royal Enclave, Srirampura, Jakkur Post, Bangalore - 560 064, India.
Ph:91-80-23635555
(R) 91-80-23665726; Fax: 91-80-23530070

Other ID: priyan at atree.org
URL: www.atree.org/priyan.html




-- 
_____________________________________________________________
Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE)
Royal Enclave, Srirampura, Jakkur Post, Bangalore - 560 064, India.
Ph:91-80-23635555
(R) 91-80-23665726; Fax: 91-80-23530070
Other ID: priyan at atree.org
URL: www.atree.org/priyan.html
 

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