Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

Revolutionary thoughts on taxonomy: declarations of independence and interdependence

D. Wheeler, Quentin

Credible biological research depends on accurate species identifications, reliable scientific names, and an evolutionary context provided by a phylogeny or phylogenetic classification. The emphasis on such taxonomic services has detracted from the fundamental taxonomic research necessary to create and sustain such knowledge systems. A taxonomic declaration of independence is presented, emphasizing the unique mission, goals, and needs of taxonomists and taxonomic (collection-based) institutions and the non-experimental yet scientifically rigorous epistemology of taxonomy. At the same time taxonomic interdependence is declared. Questions pursued by taxonomists are planetary in scale and can only be answered given international collaboration and coordination in the growth and development of natural history collections and taxonomic hypotheses. Reciprocity of open access is urged between all nations and the taxonomic community creating information. Countries home to species diversity should allow access to taxon experts so that the world's species are discovered and described. In exchange all specimens collected should be in publicly accessible museums and all resultant taxonomic data, information, and knowledge should be openly available to all who can use them.

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