Taxonomy at a crossroads
Department of Sociology, County College South, Lancaster University, LA1 4YD, UK
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Fieldwork Sites and Research Questions

The project has two general interrelated themes:

1. To understand the taxonomic sciences from a social scientific perspective

2. To feed back some of our understandings and ideas about DNA Barcoding and the future of taxonomy, to the scientific and policy communities

To be able to understand the the taxonomic sciences (including DNA barcoding), from a social scientific perspective, the project team has selected a number of research sites, including the following:

  • The Natural History Museum, LondonRoyal
  • Botanical Gardens, Kew, London
  • The Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh
  • American Museum of Natural History, New York
  • National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC
  • Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding
  • British Phycological Society, UK
  • Butterfly Conservation, UK

To ensure that the research is participatory and that we can create effective feedback mechanisms, the research team has sought permission to attend selected Barcoding of Life Meetings organised by the Consortium for the Barcoding of Life (CBOL). We will also attend a number of Convention on Biological Diversity pre-COP and COP meetings. At both events, we will organise a series of "Consortium Building" seminars.

The kinds of questions initially raised by the research so far, and to be discussed at the "Consortium Building" seminars, have been:

  1. In a world of DNA barcoding, how will the 'new' culture of taxonomy sustain the diversity of current taxonomic research?
  2. How does this shift impact on funding for taxonomic research and on the ability of the taxonomic community to contribute to policy making e.g. concerning global biodiversity conservation?
  3. Which institutions will be accountable to public and scientific communities in the future?
  4. How will both specialized communities and the general public across the world access barcoding information and technical know-how?
  5. How will DNA barcoding impact on the assessment of biodiversity and other aspects of biodiversity research?
  6. What could the molecurisation of our understanding of life mean socially and politically at local, national and global scales?

Our Partners

Lancaster University

Natural History Museum

CSEC home page

CESAGen home page


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