Taxonomy at a crossroads
Department of Sociology, County College South, Lancaster University, LA1 4YD, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1524 594178 Fax: +44 (0) 1524 594256 E-mail:
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Welcome to the "Taxonomy at a Crossroads" Website.


The Research

"Taxonomy at a Crossroads: Science, Publics and Policy in Biodiversity" is a 3 year interdisciplinary research project which brings together social and natural scientists to explore contemporary innovation in the taxonomic sciences.

We are witnessing interesting shifts in the ways in which taxonomy is practiced - especially with the recent introduction of DNA barcoding techniques - an introduction which has provoked a whole spectrum of reactions from the taxonomic community.

The implications of these changes for scientific, public and policy communities are beginning to be felt and observed. As such, a social scientific insight is welcome as the futures of taxonomy and of biodiversity science gradually take shape on a global playing field.

Read project briefing document»

Main Contact: Dr Rebecca Ellis

Research Team and Partners

The project is being undertaken by a team of social scientists at Lancaster University in collaboration with a team of natural scientists at the Natural History Museum, London.

research team

Our Partners include:



The project is funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council. The ESRC are strongly committed to funding social scientific research which explores the roles contemporary science and technologies can have in society today.

Project Outcomes

  • Academic publications in social scientific and natural scientific journals
  • Research briefing pamphlet for sponsors of taxonomic institutions and scientific community
  • Final Project Conference to share and discuss project findings with all project participants

Interdisciplinarity and Innovation

"Taxonomy at a Crossroads" has developed from a previous fruitful interdisciplinary research project "Amateurs as Experts". Aside from being a further example of interdisciplinary research, we believe there is something particularly innovative about this project. This is because it uses a 'Consortium Building Methodology' to ensure that real and open dialogue is ongoing between the research team and project participants. This means that through our research, social and natural scientists will be able to work together to reflect upon and potentially shape the possible futures for taxonomy and biodiversity science in general.

Our Partners

Lancaster University

Natural History Museum

CSEC home page

CESAGen home page



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