Sandra Knapp – New workflows for describing and naming organisms

Event Date: 28 October 2011
Flett Lecture Theatre
Natural History Museum

 

Anchoring Biodiversity Information:

From Sherborn to the 21st century and beyond

Sandra Knapp
New workflows for describing and naming organisms 

International Association for Plant Taxonomy (IAPT); Intíl Trust for Zoological Nomenclature (ITZN);
Dept. Of Botany, The Natural History Museum;
Email: s.knapp@nhm.ac.uk

Monographs have long been considered the îgold-standardî of taxonomic treatments. These comprehensive compilations of all knowledge about particular taxa or groups of taxa traditionally culminated a taxonomistís career and often took a lifetime to produce. Descriptive taxonomy has been likened to a cottage industry, the antithesis of the big science approach to tackling global problems. Taxonomy itself is currently in a state of flux; opinions differ as to whether revolution or evolution is necessary, and even then, what should actually happen when we do decide. Do we still need ìgold-standardî, life-consuming single-author taxonomic works? Are traditional monographs doomed to go the way to dinosaurs? I will explore the elements of monographic, ìgold-standardî taxonomic work and examine the workflow we traditionally use to produce them. I will suggest that taxonomists are important for only some parts of this workflow, and with that explore what modern taxonomists are really for and by extension what a modern monographic/taxonomic workflow might look like.

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