[Taxacom] Pop article on taxonomy's decline

Karl Magnacca kmagnacca at wesleyan.edu
Thu Jan 27 18:49:49 CST 2011

On Wed, January 26, 2011 4:31 pm, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
> ... To my mind, someone is either employed as a taxonomist, or
> not, and if they are not, then they shouldn't get funding for
> describing and documenting the "uncatalogued" N.Z. fauna ...
> someone else should ...

While I can understand how you might feel in this particular case,
this attitude is just bizarre.  I've described ~60 species in four
years with ~20 more on the way and have never been employed as a
taxonomist.  Very few people are currently employed as taxonomists
for the Hawaiian insect fauna - maybe no one depending on how you
define it.  So I shouldn't be allowed to get any funding for it?  I
would bet that *most* taxonomists aren't employed as taxonomists.

> It is all about balance, and finding the appropriate funding levels
> for everything. Cladists can do cladistics, biogeographers can do
> biogeography, molecular biologists can do molecular biology, but
> taxonomists should do taxonomy ...

You seem to think these are mutually exclusive, like a person can
only do one thing.  As it happens, my dissertation had exactly those
four chapters, and since then I've been doing all of them in various

Just how you define a "taxonomist"?

Karl Magnacca
Postdoctoral Researcher
University of Hawaii-Hilo

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