The good, the bad, and the ugly: a critical look at species and their institutions from a user's perspective uri icon

abstract

  • Over the past eight years my colleagues and I have been involved in a major project to make key information on fishes available to users, especially in developing countries. There are about 25 000 species of fishes in the world of which over 7 000 are used by humans as food, for sport or as pets. Dealing with such large numbers meant that we depended heavily on taxonomic works to ensure that we assigned relevant information to the correct species. Eight years through the project we have covered 22 000 species, 40 000 synonyms, 80 000 common names, and 14 000 references. We have worked with over 300 collaborators, among them many taxonomists, and we have visited many museums. In this contribution I present our experiences in the catchy categories of 'good', 'bad', and 'ugly', not to offend anyone, but to provoke reactions that hopefully will lead to some of the changes that we as users of taxonomic information would like to see

publication date

  • 2008