Policy Forum

Knowing the Earth's Biodiversity: Challenges for the Infrastructure of Systematic Biology

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  04 Oct 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5284, pp. 63-64
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5284.63


In the wake of the Rio Convention on Biological Diversity, much attention has centered on our poor current state of knowledge about the diversity of life on Earth. This Policy Forum reviews the challenges that confront the systematic biology community. Whereas new collection-based institutes are being established in several tropical collections, resources are failing for many long-established centers of excellence. Given the exciting prospect of exploring Mars for life, it is too easy to forget the urgent need to discover and understand effectively the diversity of life on our own planet.