Articles sur Taxonomy

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Specimens in herbaria include “pickled” plants in pots (shown here), dried specimens and fruits or seeds preserved whole. Ainsley Calladine, State Herbarium of South Australia

From Joseph Banks to big data, herbaria bring centuries-old science into the digital age

Australia's herbaria are a priceless repository, holding around 8 million samples that map historical and current distributions of native and introduced plant species in Australia.
A wax figure of Charles Darwin, whose theories about species have influenced science for centuries. Jose Manuel Ribeiro/Reuters

The long struggle to understand species: from pre-Darwin to the present day

Humans have an innate interest and ability in naming biologically meaningful entities, or species. Taxonomy, then, vies for the title of world's “oldest profession”.
Scientific evidence shows overwhelmingly that people across the world are genetic refugees from Africa. Shutterstock

How science has been abused through the ages to promote racism

Despite science refuting the existence of different human races, people have used "race" throughout history to divide and denigrate certain people while promoting their claims of superiority.
New forms of life are discovered in high-tech ways that leave yesterday’s natural history collections in the dust. Detective image via www.shutterstock.com.

The modern, molecular hunt for the world’s biodiversity

Forget the pith helmet and butterfly net. Discovering biodiversity now is much more about metagenomics and the 0's and 1's of digital databases.
What do collections of dead butterflies do for their still-living counterparts? Andrew D Warren

Why we still collect butterflies

The dead animal specimens that comprise natural history collections contribute a lot toward scientific understanding of their still-living counterparts – and those that have gone extinct.
Tractors may have revolutionised farming but to protect biosecurity, farmers could do with some extra help. Ben McLeod/Flickr

Go with the grain: technology to help farmers protect crops

New technology to tackle biosecurity challenges down the track is one of the five megatrends identified in today’s CSIRO report Australia’s Biosecurity Future: preparing for future biological challenges…
No, it’s nothing to do with a reptilian existential crisis – just a name game. melanie cook/Flickr

There’s no such thing as reptiles any more – and here’s why

You have likely been to a zoo at some point and visited their reptile house. A building where the climate control dial is stuck on the “wet sauna” setting, and filled with maniacal children competing to…
Sorry guys, if you are smaller than 1 mm, you can’t be a species. Microbe World

How small is too small to qualify as a species?

Despite their small size, organisms smaller than thousandth of a metre (1 mm) contribute greatly to biodiversity and ecosystem function. Unfortunately, categorising small organisms, even defining those…
The lack of biological information about some species may be keeping them off the IUCN critically endangered list. Mariana Campbell

Protecting endangered species we don’t know much about

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) uses set criteria to define species extinction risk. At the pointy end of the wedge, species are classed as Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable. Overall…

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