Taxonomic research in South Africa : the state of the discipline

Smith, Gideon F. ; Buys, Matt ; Walters, Michele ; Herbert, Dai ; Hamer, Michelle (2008)

CITATION: Smith, G. F. et al. 2008. Taxonomic research in South Africa : the state of the discipline. South African Journal of Science, 104:254-256.

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The need for taxonomy is imperative as we cannot protect organisms that are not known and which remain unidentified and uncharacterised, thereby limiting our capacity to understand them and to assess the influence of environmental change and other alterations in their condition. There is currently insufficient taxonomic capacity to keep abreast of the rate of new discoveries - our museums and herbaria already contain numerous unnamed species that await description. We outline the steps that our taxonomists have taken to promote their work - through conferences and the establishment of professional societies - and make the case for its enhanced support as an integral part of science policy.

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