Undervaluation of systematic biology

Other Names:
Lack of emphasis on scientific taxonomy
Anonymous species
Unnamed living organisms

In recent years there has been a significant reduction in the teaching of systematics in schools and universities. The decline in resources for a continued systematic activity in many, if not most, countries of the world, has been gradual but unrelieved. Universities and government bodies tend to reduce positions for taxonomists/systematists in teaching and research when budget cuts are made. Funding for research projects and congresses is diminishing considerably. In response, students do not see systematics as a secure and exciting professional discipline. The resulting decline in systematic activity and expertise is harming areas of applied science which rely on taxonomic research, such as work on disease vectors, biological conservation or agricultural pest control. The fields of biotechnology and petro-geology also require strong systematic support. The limited pool of trained systematists may be attracted to such commercially-profitable fields rather than work in the less well-funded areas supporting public health or wildlife conservation.


Available systematists are unable to satisfy the demand for their services. The situation is clearly critical when it is considered that only 1.5 million of the estimated 30 million species alive today have been described.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality
Problem Type:
D: Detailed problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST