New & Noteworthy

Archive for January, 2011

20 Jan 2011

Recent Articles on the Dwindling Supply of Taxonomists

Two articles published this month highlight the lack of taxonomists worldwide.

The January 2011 issue of the journal BioScience includes an article entitled “Recovery Plan for the Endangered Taxonomy Profession.”  The article, which appears in the journal’s Professional Biologist column, proposes emphasizing the training of non-professional taxonomists, including parataxonomists, amateurs, and youths, to reverse the declining trend in professionals entering the field.  The article is available with a subscription at

On January 19, published an article entitled “The Mass Extinction of Scientists Who Study Species” that takes a look at the impact of the declining number of professional taxonomists.  This loss of expertise could have profound impacts on our collective scientific knowledge: “The problem we face is a loss of knowledge not yet recorded in the scientific literature.  In our technological efforts to concentrate our biodiversity knowledge, we may be rendering a field and body of knowledge obsolete.  And in the process, we may be undermining our own efforts to protect biodiversity.”  The article can be read for free at

19 Jan 2011

NSCA/SPNCH 2011 Meeting Information Now Online

Join the NSC Alliance and the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections for their fourth annual joint meeting, to be held May 23-28 2011 in San Francisco, California.  This year, the meeting will focus on “Sustainable Museums–Sustaining Collections,” and will be hosted by the California Academy of Sciences in their Platinum LEED certified museum.  The meeting website provides information on the meeting program, lodging and transportation, and travel assistance grants.

The NSC Alliance portion of the meeting is scheduled for 24-25 May 2011 and will include an NSC Alliance Board of Directors meeting, business meeting, and a plenary session (25 May) on federal policy and scientific collections.

Visit for more information.  The deadline for early bird registration is March 18.  The deadline for submitting a presentation abstract is April 1.

12 Jan 2011

Act Now: Write a Letter to the Editor About the Value of Museums

Scientific collections and the institutions that house them are an important part of our nation’s research and education enterprise.  Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper to spread the word about the value of museums.  Send a prepared letter at