[Taxacom] Pop article on taxonomy's decline

bti at dsmz.de bti at dsmz.de
Fri Jan 28 15:00:04 CST 2011


And bacteriology has done this for Code compliant names since 1980,  
where we know where all the original descriptions are and also the  
types..... We also know all the synonyms. But you knew I would say  
that didn't you Paul & Rich? ;-)
Brian

Quoting Paul Kirk <p.kirk at cabi.org>:

> Index Fungorum can do it for the fungi ... as far as our limited  
> resources have allowed us to scan the worlds literature and find all  
> names, as there is no obligation on name producers to tell the world  
> they have published a name - until registration becomes mandatory  
> ... as it will in July for the fungi with a 1st Jan. 2013 starting  
> date.
>
> Paul
>
> ________________________________________
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu  
> [taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] on behalf of Stephen Thorpe  
> [stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz]
> Sent: 28 January 2011 02:57
> To: Neal Evenhuis; tillier at mnhn.fr; Bob Mesibov; Richard Pyle
> Cc: taxacom
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Pop article on taxonomy's decline
>
>> Therefore, GNI is not really the place to see how many new species  
>> were proposed
>> in a given year
>
> yes, but someone might try to use it for that, so we need to beware
>
> I don't think that there is a place to see how many new species were  
> proposed in
> a given year! Isn't that one of the things biodiversity informatics  
> is (slowly)
> working towards??
>
> so, I think we should be *highly cautious* about any claimed numbers  
> ... I still
> think 18000 is an order of magnitude too high for 2008 ... but how  
> can I check?
>
>
> Stephen
>
>
>
>
> ________________________________
> From: Neal Evenhuis <neale at bishopmuseum.org>
> To: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>; "tillier at mnhn.fr"
> <tillier at mnhn.fr>; Bob Mesibov <mesibov at southcom.com.au>; Richard Pyle
> <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>
> Cc: taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> Sent: Fri, 28 January, 2011 3:52:38 PM
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Pop article on taxonomy's decline
>
> GNI actually pulls up ALL records of a name -- misspellings,  
> subsequent usage,
> etc.!
>
> Searching back to 2001 you get totals varying from 24079 (for 2008) to 114252
> (for 2004!) -- click on some of the names and you will see it whenever a name
> has been listed in a publication. Therefore, GNI is not really the  
> place to see
> how many new species were proposed in a given year.
>
> -Neal
>
> On 1/27/11 4:30 PM, "Stephen Thorpe"
> <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz<mailto:stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>> scribbled the
> following tidbit:
>
> maybe that figure of 18225 is OK ... hard to say, but one needs to be careful
> a search for 2008 on Global Names Index pulls up 24079 records (including new
> genera etc., as well as new species)
> http://gni.globalnames.org/name_strings?search_term=2008
> *but* just looking at the first page of 803 reveals 7 repeats based on minor
> citation variants (comma absent or present, authors in full or et al., etc.)
> so, the number could be well astray quite easily ...
>
> ________________________________
> From: Neal Evenhuis <neale at bishopmuseum.org<mailto:neale at bishopmuseum.org>>
> To: "tillier at mnhn.fr<mailto:tillier at mnhn.fr>"
> <tillier at mnhn.fr<mailto:tillier at mnhn.fr>>; Bob Mesibov
> <mesibov at southcom.com.au<mailto:mesibov at southcom.com.au>>; Richard Pyle
> <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org<mailto:deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>>
> Cc: taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu<mailto:taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>>
> Sent: Fri, 28 January, 2011 1:29:05 PM
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Pop article on taxonomy's decline
>
> Figures can always be misleading.
>
> Without doing too much calculation and re-examination of all the parameters
> given below, let's just look at one:
>
> 18225 species described;
> 50 species per year per taxonomist;
> = 346 taxonomists doing all the work!
> I doubt it. Especially since Philippe says 600 are doing Mollusca  
> work alone...
>
> Some of the figures given below are confounded by many real-life  
> situations not
> taken into account:
> 1. many co-authors on papers describing species
> 2. students and retired professionals getting little or no pay
>
> A recalculation given many more complexities and realistic  
> parameters of species
> being described should show that very little funding goes to taxonomy as
> compared to systematics.
>
> -Neal
>
>
> On 1/26/11 11:53 PM, "Simon TILLIER"
> <tillier at mnhn.fr<mailto:tillier at mnhn.fr><mailto:tillier at mnhn.fr<mailto:tillier at mnhn.fr>>>
>  scribbled the following tidbit:
>
> Some elements in support to Rich’s (unpopular) position:
>
> 1.  18225 new species have been described in 2008 (source = State of
> Observed Species 2010). This rate of description has existed for more than
> two decades now (source = Philippe Bouchet), and is far higher than ever
> before since Linnaeus times;
>
> 2. New species are being described by more authors than ever, which is
> obviously in contradiction with the idea of extinction of taxonomists: for
> new Mollusc species, from ca 150 authors since 1930 to 1960, to 400+ in 2000
> and 600+ in 2008 (source = Philippe Bouchet)
>
> 3. The GBIF budget was 2.6 million euros in 2009. A rough calculation of the
> cost of a new species description may be as follows:
> - a taxonomist full salary cost may be approximately 60000 euros / year;
> - he/she may describe at least 50 new species per year (much more in some
> taxa), working full time at species description;
> - so a new species description costs ca 1200 euros;
> - the collection, infrastructure and publication costs may double this
> amount, lets accept 2500 euros / species description;
> - then ca 45,5 million euros  are spent yearly to describe 18225 species, ie
> 20 times the GBIF budget and probably ca 10 times the cost of all database
> initiatives. The ratio would still be very much higher if we took into
> consideration the capital immobilized in both cases (real estate, etc).
> Spending the GBIF budget on species description would allow an increase in
> description rate of  5-6%, which may well be less than the benefit resulting
> from direct access to a lot of information which is physically fragmented in
> places too numerous to allow easy access by more  than very few privileged
> professionals.
>
> So, and unless these rational figures are rationally demonstrated to be
> false, taxonomists are not endangered and the cost of databases is trivial,
> even if the quality and quantity of the information accessible obviously
> need improvement.
>
> I see actually two problems: the first is understanding why we perceive
> taxonomists as endangered when objective observations indicate that this is
> not the case, at least in a first approach; and the second problem is how we
> can address the absence of any knowledge on something like 50 – 100% of all
> living species.
>
> Simon Tillier
>
> -----Message d'origine-----
> De :
> taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu<mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu><mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu<mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>>
>  [mailto:taxacom-
> bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu<mailto:bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu><mailto:bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu<mailto:bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>>]
>  De la part de Bob Mesibov
> Envoyé : jeudi 27 janvier 2011 00:34
> À : Richard Pyle
> Cc : TAXACOM
> Objet : Re: [Taxacom] Pop article on taxonomy's decline
> Hi, Rich.
> I think your lack of food may have affected your lines of argument :-)
> Pyle: "First of all, it's wrong."
> Whether existing taxonomists think the databasing efforts are good or not
> isn't
> relevant. The author of the Wired article is Craig McLain, assistant
> director of
> science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center and like you, a
> keen marine
> expeditioner. McLain doesn't knock databasing. He says: 'Thankfully (my
> own
> research has relied upon them), thousands of hours and millions of dollars
> have
> been spent on these initiatives. However, many of these programs did not
> financially support taxonomists generating the data these databases
> required.'
> Pyle: "Second of all, the amount of money spent on all database efforts
> combined
> is *trivial* compared to what is needed to correct the problem."
> Ah, the old 'drop in the bucket' argument from Tom Wolfe's 'Mau Mauing the
> Flak
> Catchers'. Correcting the problem might take millions, who knows? It's a
> fluid
> estimate. Take some real figures: in 2010-11, of the 4 of the 9 taxonomy
> grants
> from the Australian Biological Resources Study (the Federal taxonomy
> honeypot) to
> professional taxonomists were for AUD$10000 *over 3 years*. That really is
> trivial.
> How much does one EOL Biodiversity Synthesis Meeting cost?
> Pyle: "Third, in most cases that money has not come from a source that
> would have
> been available to taxonomists anyway."
> Which is McLain's point, and lots of other people's. That source damn well
> *should*
> have been funding the taxonomists. And here again one of my favourite
> quotes,
> from former EOL head James Edwards: "We have not given enough thought to
> the
> people who provide the information on which the Encyclopedia of Life is
> built," Dr.
> Edwards acknowledged. "We are looking into ways to keep that community
> going."
> (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/26/science/26ency.html?_r=3)
> Pyle: "Fourth, the entire argument is a Red Herring, because the real
> problem with
> misdirected funds is more dollars spent doing lab-based taxonomy, and less
> dollars
> spent doing field-based taxonomy."
> You probably need to clarify that a bit more. I think it's still true that
> most new
> species are 'discovered' in museums and herbaria.
> --
> 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
> Ph: (03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195
> Webpage: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/?articleID=570
> _______________________________________________
> Taxacom Mailing List
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu<mailto:Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu><mailto:Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu<mailto:Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>>
>
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
> The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with either of
> these
> methods:
> (1) http://taxacom.markmail.org<http://taxacom.markmail.org/>
> Or (2) a Google search specified as:
> site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom
> your search terms here
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
>
> Taxacom Mailing List
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu<mailto:Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu><mailto:Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu<mailto:Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>>
>
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
>
> The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with either of these
> methods:
>
> (1) http://taxacom.markmail.org<http://taxacom.markmail.org/>
>
> Or (2) a Google search specified as:   
> site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom
> your search terms here
>
>
> _______________________________________________
>
> Taxacom Mailing List
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu<mailto:Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
>
> The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with either of these
> methods:
>
> (1) http://taxacom.markmail.org<http://taxacom.markmail.org/>
>
> Or (2) a Google search specified as:   
> site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom
> your search terms here
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
>
> Taxacom Mailing List
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
>
> The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with either  
> of these methods:
>
> (1) http://taxacom.markmail.org
>
> Or (2) a Google search specified as:   
> site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom  your search terms here
> _______________________________________________
>
> Taxacom Mailing List
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
>
> The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with either  
> of these methods:
>
> (1) http://taxacom.markmail.org
>
> Or (2) a Google search specified as:   
> site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom  your search terms here
>
>



Dr.B.J.Tindall
DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikro-
organismen und Zellkulturen GmbH
Inhoffenstraße 7B
38124 Braunschweig
Germany
Tel. ++49 531-2616-224
Fax  ++49 531-2616-418
http://www.dsmz.de
Director: Prof. Dr. J. Overmann
Local court: Braunschweig HRB 2570
Chairman of the management board: MR Dr. Axel Kollatschny

DSMZ - A member of the Leibniz Association (WGL)





More information about the Taxacom mailing list