Institut für Ökologie, Evolution und Diversität
The taxonomist - an endangered race : a practical proposal for its survival
Johann Wolfgang Wägele
- Background: Taxonomy or biological systematics is the basic scientific discipline of biology, postulating hypotheses of identity and relationships, on which all other natural sciences dealing with organisms relies. However, the scientific contributions of taxonomists have been largely neglected when using species names in scientific publications by not citing the authority on which they are based.
Discussion: Consequences of this neglect is reduced recognition of the importance of taxonomy, which in turn results in diminished funding, lower interest from journals in publishing taxonomic research, and a reduced number of young scientists entering the field. This has lead to the so-called taxonomic impediment at a time when biodiversity studies are of critical importance.
Here we emphasize a practical and obvious solution to this dilemma. We propose that whenever a species name is used, the author(s) of the species hypothesis be included and the original literature source cited, including taxonomic revisions and identification literature - nothing more than what is done for every other hypothesis or assumption included in a scientific publication. In addition, we postulate that journals primarily publishing taxonomic studies should be indexed in ISISM.
Summary: The proposal outlined above would make visible the true contribution of taxonomists within the scientific community, and would provide a more accurate assessment for funding agencies impact and importance of taxonomy, and help in the recruitment of young scientists into the field, thus helping to alleviate the taxonomic impediment. In addition, it would also make much of the biological literature more robust by reducing or alleviating taxonomic uncertainty.
Keywords: Taxonomy crisis; taxonomic impediment; impact factor; original species description; citation index; systematics
Palystes kreutzmanni sp. n. – a new huntsman spider species from fynbos vegetation in Western Cape Province, South Africa (Araneae, Sparassidae, Palystinae)
- Palystes kreutzmanni sp. n. is described from habitats close to Kleinmond, in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. Spiders of this new species live in the typical fynbos vegetation of the Western Cape region. They build retreats between apical leaves of Leucadendron bushes. The systematic position of Palystes kreutzmanni sp. n. is discussed. Male and female show characters of different species groups, especially the female copulatory organ seems to be unique within the genus Palystes L. Koch, 1875.