A group of scientists known as taxonomists are responsible for the discovery and naming of new species. It is at the core of our work and the work of our forefathers in information science. In Australia, it is a very important role considering the country accounts for 10 percent of all species in the world. SBS News brought this topic to our attention in their article, “What is a taxonomist and why are they crying out for more funding?

Cuts to science research and a reduction in the number of taxonomists in Australia has been steady since the 1970s, even as the country’s population has doubled. The latest research suggests that much remains to be done.

Over the past two centuries, taxonomists have also named an estimated 1.9 million species of animals, plants and micro-organisms, but the total number may be as high as 30 million.

An area like taxonomy isn’t necessarily known or attractive to young scientists. Taxonomy tells us how animals, plants and the planet are changing. But without better funding and more young scientists, the result will be millions of anonymous species.

Melody K. Smith

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