Systematics Section / ASPT
Geeta, R , Levy, Andre , Hoch, J. Matt , Mark, Melissa .
Where are the taxonomists, and does it matter?.
The current biodiversity crisis leads to demands for the internationalization of taxonomy, however, many biologists are unfamiliar with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which enables such globalization. The CBD was instrumental in creating a global awareness of the "taxonomic impediment," the incomplete knowledge of taxa and the dearth of taxonomists worldwide. The impediment is most acute in tropical, developing nations, which contain most of the world’s biodiversity, yet produce far fewer taxonomists than developed countries. Two crucial ways to ameliorate the impediment are (i) increased study of taxa in developing nations and (ii) increased taxonomic training in developing nations. The CBD governs these solutions; yet, most US taxonomists are little aware of this new "global regime” that affects their professional lives. We analysed three membership databases American Society of Plant Taxonomists (ASPT), Society of Systematic Biologists (SSB) and the World Taxonomists Database (WTD) to understand the dimensions of the problem. According to our analyses developed nations have the most taxonomists in the world (54%); the US having the highest fraction (20%): apparently US taxonomists must shoulder much of the responsibility in overcoming the impediment in biodiversity-rich countries. Due to greater institutional engagement, US taxonomists at herbaria, museums, botanic gardens, and zoos tend to be more aware of the CBD than those at universities. However, US universities need to become more engaged with the CBD because most US taxonomists (65%) work at universities.
1 - State University of New York, Ecology and Evolution, 640 Life Sciences Building, Stony Brook, New York, 11794-5245, USA
Convention on Biological Diversity
Presentation Type: Poster
Location: Special Event Center (Cliff Lodge)
Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2004
Time: 12:30 PM