Krupp, F., Abuzinada, A.H. & Nader, I.A. (eds.), A Marine Wildlife Sanctuary for the Arabian Gulf. Environmental research and conservation following the 1991 Gulf War Oil Spill. NCWCD, Riyadh and Senckenberg Research Institute, Frankfurt a.M.

The role of taxonomic research in biodiversity conservation

A b s t r a c t: The history of taxonomic research is briefly reviewed and its importance in biodiversity conservation discussed. In recent years, taxonomy has undergone a re-evaluation of its philosophical foundations and methodologies, and taxonomic research has become a cornerstone of species conservation. Biological diversity has to be documented and understood before it can be effectively preserved. Changes in biological communities cannot be assessed unless accurate data at species level are available, and accuracy depends on reliable species identifications. Consequently, most scientists participating in the Jubail Marine Wildlife Sanctuary project had a strong background in taxonomy and major centres of systematic research world-wide supported the project from their home bases. Museum collections are a source of comparative biological information, guaranteeing data quality that cannot be matched by a visual census and field notes. Natural history museums also play an important role in informing and educating the general public as their displays increasingly address issues of environmental awareness.


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