The European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy (EDIT) has released, “Taxonomy in Europe in the 21st Century,” a scientific vision for the future of taxonomyy in the next 10 to 20 years. EDIT was established in March 2006 by 27 leading European, North American and Russian institutions to answer the call of the European Commission for a network in “Taxonomy for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research.”

The report addresses the science of taxonomy, technological developments, and the socio-political environment for taxonomy in the coming decade.

According to the report: - That taxonomy faces exciting challenges and opportunities in the future to meet the demand for an ever more profound understanding of the diversity of life on this planet, how it developed and the impact of increasingly destructive human activity including climate change, factors that are predicted to have an enormous negative influence on the diversity and distribution of biodiversity (the biodiversity crisis). - Pivotal to the development of taxonomy are the rapidly expanding fields of high throughput DNA sequencing, automated digital data-gathering and biodiversity informatics. Incorporating these technologies will be critical to the science of taxonomy. - Scientific collaborators and users of taxonomy will require new ways of working and interacting with taxonomists. It is essential that taxonomists and their users respond to this need. Taxonomists integrated into interdisciplinary teams will be an essential way of working. - Although an ever expanding repertoire of theoretical and practical tools is available to taxonomists, unheralded in the history of the subject, there will have to be substantial, even radical, changes in how taxonomy is done and its supporting infrastructure operated, to exploit these opportunities to the full. “Business as usual”, even if scaled up, is simply not an option.

To read the report, please go to


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