Natural Science Collections Alliance

Our members are part of an international community of museums, botanical gardens, herbariums, universities and other institutions that house natural science collections and utilize them in research, exhibitions, academic and informal science education, and outreach activities.

Survey Request: State of Taxonomy, Systematics Education

The NSC Alliance has been asked to circulate the following survey to our members.  I hope you will take a few moments to complete this survey.


Larry Page

Dear Colleagues:

We are writing to invite you to participate in a survey on the state of teaching in taxonomy and systematic biology.  If your area of expertise and interest lies outside of this discipline, you may simply ignore this invitation or perhaps forward it to an appropriate colleague.

We are conducting the survey as independent scholars and are not representing any institution or organization.  An article by Costello et al. earlier this year (“Can we name earth’s species before they go extinct?”, Science 339: 413) painted an optimistic picture that seems at odds with many papers over the past decade claiming a decline in taxonomy and systematic biology.  We were unable to find recent data supporting either claim and decided that it would be of value to the community to gather some basic data.  Our intent is to summarize and make the data available to the community in a brief publication.

Our examination of the state of teaching is obviously only one facet of a complex issue, but having the results of this survey will, we hope, help.  We have asked you to identify your institution so that we can detect multiple responses from any single source.  We will not identify you or your institution in our published results.

The survey instrument may be found at:

Thank you in advance for your participation in the survey.

Andrew Brower
Quentin Wheeler
Elizabeth Yockey

Survey Request: State of Taxonomy, Systematics Education
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