[Taxacom] article on the decline of taxonomists

Steve Manning sdmanning at asub.edu
Thu Sep 9 13:04:46 CDT 2010


I think you are asking two different questions here - (1) the 
importance of recognition of the importance of basic taxonomic 
research and (2) the importance of employment opportunities in the 
area.  Sadly, the two do not always go together.  (1) was very 
important, especially in light of my increased awareness of how much 
diversity there is in exotic places like tropical rain forests, which 
I found quite alluring.  But (2) was another matter - like some other 
fields, there are a whole lot more interested people than there is 
financial support to employ them.  So while I spent nearly a year in 
the forests, I was not paid for it (except a $200 grant as far as I 
can remember) but eventually, as a "plan B", got a good job in a 
non-research institution where I still am teaching and hopefully 
stimulating some younger interested folks until they get out in the 
real world looking for positions.  Haven't been able to influence (2) 
one way or the other, unfortunately.

Steve

At 12:15 PM 9/9/2010, Mary Barkworth wrote:
>A more interesting question (my opinion) is whether there have been 
>any changes in practice/education/society that have had a positive 
>impact on recognition of the importance of basic taxonomic research 
>and employment opportunities for individuals in the area. It would, 
>however, be difficult topic to find information about. Was there an 
>expansion after land grant colleges and the Extension Service were 
>established in the US? What about the impact of big environmental 
>push in the 1960s? How about passage of the Endangered Species 
>act?  I know these are all events within the US. Perhaps folks in 
>other countries can identify what one would expect to be an 
>employment driver - and see what happened.
>Just a thought - going to push the sherry button.
>
>Mary
>
>
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