[Taxacom] Funding by NSF for taxonomy and phylogenetics compared
dlahr at ib.usp.br
Tue Jan 12 10:01:53 CST 2016
Though these seem interesting, uplifting data, there are (at least) two
issues in taking them at face value:
1. What is the demand in each column? It would be more enlightening to know
how many dollars were requested and what was efectivelly granted. If
demand is significantly lower in "pure taxonomy", as expected due to the
declining numbers of taxonomists (if this decline is indeed true), then the
rate of funding is actually higher.
2. Are the actual projects on the left hand side purely taxonomic and the
ones on the right hand side purely phylogenetics? Hardly so, there is
probably a lot of overlap. Many of these may also be on completely
Daniel J. G. Lahr
PhD, Assist. Prof.
Dept of Zoology, Univ. of Sao Paulo, Brazil
Office number: + 55 (11) 3091 0948
On Sun, Jan 10, 2016 at 3:06 PM, Richard Zander <Richard.Zander at mobot.org>
> I have submitted over the years various diatribes and Jeremiads to Taxacom
> against the outrages of phylogenetics. Some Taxacomers have reassured us
> that phylogenetics is a passing fad, and will fade away like the morning
> dew, or change into something deep and refreshing.
> Just to check with reality, I searched the funding database in NSF for the
> words "phylogeny" and "taxonomy" in the titles or abstracts for the last 5
> years. The results, which I tabulated in Excel, are:
> Phylogeny Taxonomy
> 2015 33611140 2015 16574900
> 2014 23649263 2014 14951327
> 2013 11091123 2013 12055369
> 2012 8052574 2012 16439643
> 2011 8801433 2011 22627716
> total 85205533 total 82648955
> Thus, projects about "phylogeny" and those about "taxonomy" are about
> equally funded over the last 5 years at $82 to 85 million dollars.
> Taxonomy seems to be holding steady at around $12-14 million per year, but
> phylogeny has had a burst of popularity among NSF grantors, doubling in
> funding during 2013-2014, and then increasing in 2015 by another 10 million
> dollars. It is presently funded at double the rate of taxonomy.
> Some have said that phylogenetics research usually includes good taxonomy.
> Check the pages of top phylogenetics journals and see if you agree with
> them that phylogenetics contributes to taxonomic knowledge in the classical
> Richard H. Zander
> Missouri Botanical Garden - 4344 Shaw Blvd. - St. Louis - Missouri - 63110
> - USA
> richard.zander at mobot.org<mailto:richard.zander at mobot.org>
> Web sites: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/bfna/bfnamenu.htm and
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