Strategies in taxonomy: research in a changing world. Report of an e-conference

Grant, F.; de Jong, Y.; Kirschner, J.; Petrik, P.; Segers, H.; Sharman, M.; Tillier, S.; Watt, A.; Young, J., eds. 2009 Strategies in taxonomy: research in a changing world. Report of an e-conference. NERC/Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and BioStrat, 65pp.

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This EPBRS e-conference on “Strategies for Taxonomy: Research in a Changing World” focused on identifying the key research questions allowing taxonomy to address policy needs in a better way and, vice versa, allowing policy makers to get responses from taxonomists on specific subjects related to the use of taxonomic knowledge. Taxonomy, as a collectively assembled ‘Body of Knowledge’ formally started with the work of Linnaeus, is the most comprehensive and reliable source of information about biodiversity today. This includes specimen collections, character descriptions, geographic distributions, occurrence details, classification system(s), and links to associated information in literature and other resources. This accumulated ‘Body of Knowledge’ is well structured around the Linnaean system and is our baseline knowledge to monitor changes in biodiversity. Although there are few doubts that taxonomic information is essential for reliable environmental science, applied users often complain about the inability to get adequate access to taxonomic information to respond to -for instance- the biodiversity crisis. This ‘taxonomic impediment’ is recognised within taxonomy by currently attempting to expand its capacity to explore and accommodate more species and to improve the dissemination and use of taxonomic information on the internet. Due to these internal and external constraints, pushing taxonomy to advance its working routines and support the applied use of taxonomic information, taxonomy stands, at the moment, at a crossroads. Therefore it is critical for policy makers to make the right decisions for the future of taxonomy, now. This should, for instance, balance not only the emphasis stakeholders, researchers and society often place on new technologies and research tools but also the maintenance of core taxonomic research respecting the often exceptional level of expertise needed to explore and recognise species diversity. Finding the right connection between taxonomists and policy makers is complicated because of the different intermediate parties (e.g. data centres, agencies and stakeholders) frequently obscuring a profound understanding of the relevance of taxonomy for biodiversity assessments for policy makers, but also hampering a closer commitment of taxonomists to fundamental questions on what information is needed (at what level and at what depth) for policy makers to make the right decisions. I hope this e-conference has contributed to a better understanding among decision makers and taxonomists of the relevant scientific priorities for future strategic policy plans.

Item Type: Publication - Report
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 3 - Managing Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in a Changing Environment
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Watt
ISBN: 9788086188324
Funders/Sponsors: NERC/Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, European Commission (BioStrat project)
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This is a report of the E-Conference entitled “Strategies in Taxonomy: Research in a Changing World” preceding the European Platform for Biodiversity Research Strategy (EPBRS) meeting to be held under the Czech Republic EU presidency in Pruhonice, Czech Republic, from the 19th to the 22nd of May 2009.
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Date made live: 12 May 2010 12:50 +0 (UTC)

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