Taxonomy - Meaning and study of taxonomy
CONSERVATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL SPECIES
How the study of taxonomy has changed and how it evolves in the context of biodiversity
Taxonomy is the activity that consists in the collection in nature and in the laboratory of a series of data cataloged on the basis of classifications: morphological, physiological, genetic, ecological and behavioral, their study and the taxonomic determination carried out on the basis of available knowledge in the field.
It represents the tool with which the plant and animal systematics guarantees an adequate classification of the entire system existing on our planet in order to obtain a fund of knowledge of fundamental importance for the identification and selection of the biological material that characterizes our natural habitats.
To protect ecosystems at risk of extinction or destruction, it is necessary to know their characteristics and potential, thus avoiding too frequent episodes of mismanagement of ecosystems with even serious repercussions on the community (deforestation, overbuilding, uncontrolled buildings, useless pollution and completely devoid of models forecasting, excessive anthropogenic interventions).
In the last century we have documents that testify to the extinction of species 100 to 1000 times faster and it has been shown that the lack of effective taxonomic research of species inevitably results in a crisis of knowledge and information. Currently we can say that there is no complete map of the flora and fauna present in any protected area.
Furthermore, no updating and variation programs are implemented for those that already exist. However, in this uncomfortable context, there are some studies of Bioinformatics and Cybertaxonomy that allow the online disclosure of the monitored material.
In this situation, it is the duty of the taxonomists and biologists interested in the acquisition and study of available data to process and standardize the available information packages, databases and all potentially archival material.
The DNA Barcoding technique, used to simplify the recognition and classification techniques of species, has had wide acceptance above all for the reliability and simplicity of the molecular technique used despite its understandable limitation as regards the study of systematic and evolutionary relationships between plant and animal species. and no less important are the very numerous and characterizing morphological aspects.
The integration of all the information mentioned above constitutes the essential knowledge base for framing the environmental management and biodiversity protection policies.
The Global Biodiversity Information Facility is a global information facility with free access for the consultation of databases relating to: 7400 data sets and over 170 million data relating to organisms from almost all countries of the world.
The sectoralization of scientific culture, perhaps too often aimed at focusing on studies at a genetic and molecular level, has had a direct consequence of the impoverishment of knowledge of the interrelationships existing between the different environmental and biological realities.
The United States, Canada and Australia have already resumed the recovery of education in this sense.
Botanical gardens and natural history museums are the repositories of enormous cultural heritage on botanical and zoological taxonomy; they offer an ideal and unique context to stimulate the new generations to raise awareness and study these disciplines.
They must be protected and loved because they contribute to the enrichment of scientific knowledge without which any management approach to the environment would be useless, useless and without foundations.
Dr. Antonella Di Matteo