Encontros Scientia

Plant systematics: why we need it!

Plant systematics: why we need it!

Maria Cristina Duarte

Auxiliary Researcher (NHS-cE3c)

Species identification is a basic and essential step to many sciences: biosystematics, biodiversity, species ecology, vegetation studies, conservation, ethnobotany, economic botany, etc.

With more than 250 years, taxonomic research is one of the oldest biological disciplines, but the main goal – to identify all the species of our planet – remains to be reached. In view of this, the ‘taxonomic impediment’, as is presently called, is recognized as a shortfall that must be overcome.

The incomplete knowledge of global biodiversity, specially from some tropical regions and on particular taxonomic groups, the insufficient number of experts, and the scarce human and financial resources for taxonomic infrastructures, such as herbaria, are some of the hitches that have been identified. Relegated to a minor science in last decades, plant taxonomy is now recovering as the pace of other sciences, more fashionable, recognize the importance of this basic knowledge.

One of the main objectives of this presentation is to emphasise the necessity of taxonomical studies in plant sciences at a diverse array of thematic issues, from the more basic objective of plant taxonomy – the description of new species –, to bioinformatic, plant biotechnology, ethnopharmacology, ethnobotany, bioeconomics, and biodiversity informatics, among others. Studies developed in these areas will illustrate both the crucial importance of taxonomic research as well as its underlying potential.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

FCUL (Building C2), 12h00-13h00, room 2.2.14