Who is involved?The scientists that do taxonomy are calledtaxonomists. Their work is crucial for all our efforts toconserve biodiversity.
Whats in a name?The names taxonomists give to species dont just tellus what they are called, but also tell us about howthey are related to one another. This can help us toidentify patterns in nature, and decide how best toprotect the individual species that are part of theworlds biodiversity.
How many species are there?Scientists believe there may be as many as 30 millionspecies of plants, animals and micro-organisms livingon the Earth today. Every one of them plays a part inthe global ecosystem. Taxonomists have onlyidentified and named approximately 1.7 million ofthem so far.
How does it help conservation? Taxonomists use their knowledge to help produce lists of names and identification tools in the form of species databases, field guides, collections and reference works. These tools help conservationists understand biodiversity and develop ways to protect it.
What about taxonomy across the globe?In the UK, we have a relatively limited biodiversity.However, the UK has a long-standing, globallyrecognised excellence in the field of taxonomy. Manydeveloping countries are home to amazingly richbiodiversity, but they have only very limited localtaxonomic support.
What is the Global Taxonomy Initiative?The Global Taxonomy Initiative of the Convention onBiological Diversity is helping to address the shortageof taxonomists and taxonomic expertise.
Some websites associated with this lecture Emperors of China http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/chinese/emperors.html Picture of Ebers papyrus http://www.ub.uni- leipzig.de/site.php?page=die_ubl/sosa/rundgang/ebers&lang=de&stil=fc Materia Medica of Dioscorides at http://www.bnnonline.it/biblvir/dioscoride/dioscoride.htm Linné online http://www.linnaeus.uu.se/online/index-en.html International Code of Botanical Nomenclature http://ibot.sav.sk/icbn/main.htm International Code of Zoological Nomenclature http://www.iczn.org/ PhyloCode http://www.ohiou.edu/phylocode/