Want to Help Endangered Species? Be A Taxonomist

Here's a good "green" profession for you: taxonomy.

The Australian Marine Sciences Association reports that the number of professional taxonomists -- the fine folks who discover and describe living things, and identify the species that have yet to be identified -- is declining rapidly, and has been for decades. New scientists aren't entering the profession, and as the current work force ages and retires, many taxonomist job positions in Australia are going unfilled.

Why is this so important? As reported in Australia's newspaper, The Age: "Australia risks losing hundreds of marine species before they have even been identified, because of a serious shortage of experts to do the job, scientists warn."

Australia isn't alone. The problem is worldwide. According to the Smithsonian Topical Research Institute, "The two main causes of the shortage of taxonomists are a lack of financial support for taxonomic studies  and the inaccessibility of taxonomists to train interested students (i.e., taxonomists are going extinct)."

Want to know more? Visit the Convention on Biological Diversity's Global Taxonomy Initiative.

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