[Taxacom] validation of taxon names

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Sun Feb 19 18:05:59 CST 2012

OK, Bob, I should have said "one of the main problems is ...", my bad
there is a big difference between management of a particular biosecurity crisis (or whatever), and management of general taxonomic information for general purposes
the fact, as you correctly note, that specialists are the most appropriate people for the former (mostly from the point of view of identification, not name information), does not imply that they are also the most appropriate for the latter ...

From: Bob Mesibov <mesibov at southcom.com.au>
To: TAXACOM <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> 
Sent: Monday, 20 February 2012 11:54 AM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] validation of taxon names

Ken Walker wrote:

'Why then are global social science websites such as Project Noah, iNaturalist, iSpot, Mushroom Observer etc so popular, so well used and provide a vehicle for non-specialists to make a contribution to biodiversity and Biosecurity? ... The socialisation of science needs a "Gigantic All-Names All-Species Online Taxonomic Resource (GAAOTR)".'

So one section of the 'we' is citizen scientists making and recording field observations? Excellent. That gives us even more information than we already have about the usual suspects (vertebrates, large and charismatic invertebrates, flowering plants, large fruiting fungi). Is that 'we' going to be interested in upgrading the info concerning the other 90+% of the biota in the GAAOTR?

Stephen Thorpe wrote:

"it is possible to achieve, but the main problem is stopping the proliferation of errors along the acronym food chain ... as I'm sure Bob would agree?... 
as I said in response to something that Chris Thompson said, I don't think that working specialist taxonomists are necessarily the best people to do this, although they should certainly be consulted along the way ..."

Sorry, I don't agree that the main problem in erecting a GAAOTR is stopping the proliferation of errors. It's adding new taxa, something you've pointed out many times on this list. Working specialist taxonomists are currently the people doing this (although that could change in future). The tweaking of what's already known can be done by non-specialists, sure, but when a biodiversity crisis comes up (think of controlling an invasive species) and the GAAOTR doesn't provide links to enough relevant info, it's back to the specialists, who could have been consulted first, to save time.
Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery
Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
Ph: (03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195
Webpage: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/?articleID=570


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