Systematics and Taxonomy in Crisis: House of Lords Report

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has delivered its report on the current state of systematics and taxonomy in the UK. The Committee argues that systematics and taxonomy research in the UK is in critical decline and that further decline would severely impact on the UK’s ability to deliver its conservation aims.

The Committee has criticised the NERC for a lack of clarity over its process for funding taxonomic research; calling for greater funds to be made available to support this area, and also for the Research Councils to better coordinate dialogue between the producers and users of taxonomic research.

Speaking last week (13 August) on the launch of the report, the Committee’s Chair, Lord Sutherland of Houndwood said: “”Systematic biology is crucial for many of the Government’s targets on maintaining biodiversity and the protection of endangered species as well as providing an important measure of the effects of climate change. However there seems to be significant confusion within Government over who has responsibility for this vital area.”

The Committee has called on the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) to take the lead in supporting systematics and taxonomic research.

The BES responded to the Committee’s inquiry, together with the Institute of Biology and Biosciences Federation. Read our response here.

Read full report: Systematics and Taxonomy: Follow-up