APPENDIX 3: CALL FOR EVIDENCE|
The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee,
chaired by Lord Sutherland of Houndwood, is announcing a follow-up
inquiry on systematic biology research and taxonomy. The inquiry
will provide an assessment on the state of the field five years
after the Committee's last report ('What on Earth? The threat
to the science underpinning conservation') in the context
of new scientific, technological and policy developments.
The Committee invites evidence on the following questions.
Witnesses are encouraged to focus on those issues of which they
have particular knowledge or experiencesubmissions are
not required to cover all questions.
The state of systematics and taxonomy research
1. What is the state of systematics research and
taxonomy in the UK? What are the current research priorities?
What are the barriers, if any, to delivering these priorities?
2. What is the role of systematics and taxonomy and,
in particular, in what way do they contribute to research areas
such as biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services and climate
change? How important is this contribution and how is it recognised
in the funding process? How is systematics integrated in other
areas of research?
3. Does the way in which systematics research is
organised and co-ordinated best meet the needs of the user community?
What progress has been made in setting up a body to lead on this?
What contribution do the leading systematics research institutions
make both nationally and internationally?
4. What level of funding would be needed to meet
the need for taxonomic information now and in the future? Who
should be providing this funding?
5. How does funding in other countries compare? Could
there be more international collaboration? If so, what form should
this collaboration take and how might it be achieved?
6. What impact have developments in DNA sequencing,
genomics and other new technologies had on systematics research?
In what way has systematics embraced new technologies and how
can these research areas interact successfully and efficiently?
Data collection, management, maintenance and dissemination
7. Does the way in which taxonomic data is collected,
managed and maintained best meet the needs of the user community?
What is the state of local and national recording schemes?
8. What is the role of the major regional museums
and collections? How are taxonomic collections curated and funded?
9. What progress has been made in developing a web-based
taxonomy? How do such initiatives fit in with meeting demand for
systematics and taxonomy information? How do UK-led initiatives
fit in with international initiatives and is there sufficient
10. What needs to be done to ensure that web-based
taxonomy information is of high quality, reliable and user-friendly?
11. How does the taxonomic community engage with
the non-taxonomic community? What role do field studies play?
12. What are the numbers and ages of trained taxonomists
working in UK universities and other organisations?
13. What is the state of training and education in
systematics and taxonomy? Are there any gaps in capacity? Is the
number of taxonomists in post, and those that are being trained,
sufficient to meet current and future needs across all taxonomic