Time to change how we describe biodiversity
Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Volume 27, Issue 2, 78-84, 20 December 2011
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.
Andrew R. Deans, Matthew J. Yoder, James P. BalhoffSee
Taxonomists are arguably the most active annotators of the natural world, collecting and publishing millions of phenotype data annually through descriptions of new taxa. By formalizing these data, preferably as they are collected, taxonomists stand to contribute a data set with research potential that rivals or even surpasses genomics. Over a decade of electronic innovation and debate has initiated a revolution in the way that the biodiversity is described. Here, we opine that a new generation of semantically based digital scaffolding, presently in various stages of completeness, and a commitment by taxonomists and their colleagues to undertake this transformation, are required to complete the taxonomic revolution and critically broaden the relevance of its products.