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Modern methods and technology for doing classical taxonomy

Fisher, J.R. and Dowling, A.P.G.

2010 - Volume: 50 Issue: 3 pages: 395-409


low temperature scanning electron microscopy (LTSEM) digital illustration cybertaxonomy taxonomy


Significant advances in disseminating taxonomic knowledge are pressing the boundaries of traditional techniques and challenging researchers to upgrade their methodology. Detailed herein are three major developments. First, field emission low temperature scanning electron microscopy (FE-LTSEM) is a contemporary tool for imaging mites that retains body turgor, setal position, and captures a snap-shot of the animal in vivo. Examples are given to illustrate the superiority of this method over conventional SEM in mite taxonomy. Second, digital illustration techniques designed to speed up the species-description process are discussed. Line drawings are created by drawing on top of a montaged photograph on a touch sensitive tablet. Necessary equipment/software and a workflow are provided with the intention of proposing new standards for creating line drawings in acarology. Third, trends in cybertaxonomy, which are raising publication standards for all taxonomists, are discussed with the hope that future acarological work will incorporate such trends and increase the accessibility of information both to taxonomists and non-taxonomists worldwide. Cybertaxonomic topics suggested here include embedding hyperlinks and e-references such as images deposited on MorphBank and sequences on GenBank. One can also contribute elements to the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), register new species with ZooBank, and share collection data with the Global Biodiversity Inventory Facility (GBIF). Particularly useful are KML files for viewing distribution records interactively with Google Earth. Finally, it is recommended that Web presence should be expanded by contributing taxon pages to the Tree of Life Web Project, and creating independent webpages on the taxon of interest that can act as the central hub of information for that group.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
2010 Fisher, J.R. and Dowling, A.P.G.
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