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Re: Alocasia zebrina reticulata

  • Subject: Re: Alocasia zebrina reticulata
  • From: "mossytrail" <mossytrail@hctc.com>
  • Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2008 19:00:13 -0800

> What a shame.  What will happen when there are no field
> botanists with the knowledge to recognize species in
> habitat?  I have taken young molecular taxonomists into
> the field and some of them really have no clue what they
> are looking at until you tell them.  At this rate, there
> will come a time when no field botanists will be able to
> lead them to their samples...which they send off to
> distant labs to analyze the relationships.
> 
The other side is, those of us who ARE interested mainly in
the field side of things have to consider our options.  I am
starting grad school this fall.  Of the several schools I
applied to, the one which offered me a position was East
Carolina University, with a faculty member who mostly does
wetland biodiversity processes, i.e., ecology.  Yes, I
believe I will enjoy that, as it does relate to my
(admitteldly wide-ranging) interests; but whether I will be
able later to cross over into field taxonomy, who knows?

> The other problematic issue I see is that whole genomes
> are not analyzed, only sections that are not necessarily
> associated with known characteristics.  I see a great need
> for traditional botany...but the lure of molecular biology
> is hooking most of the young fish these days.

The young fish, as in every time, have to think about their
long-term prospects.  Molecular biology is often portrayed
as the wave of the future, and thus can *appear* to be a
better long-term prospect than traditional botany.  If you
want more young scientists to enter traditional botany,
including field taxonomy, they need to see how it can be an
equally good long-term prospect.  If they are not aware of
this, they are not making fully informed decisions.

Jason Hernandez
Naturalist-at-Large
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