I’ve commented before on the slow and painful death of taxonomy in science and the issues this is likely to bring in the long run. Fortunately it seems that this is finally starting to be picked up in the wider world and that this may get a little attention. Case in point being this rather good article on the subject which I can highly recommend (thanks to Taissa Rodrigues for flagging it up).
The only thing I’d add is that they seem to have overlooked what, for me, is the biggest problem. Species are inherently hard to identify and sort out properly. And so while an absence of taxonomists does mean we can loose species without knowing they exist or have real problems understanding biodiversity and conservation, the real issue is far more fundamental. If you do not know what a given species is, or it is not defined properly then *any* research based on that in any way is fundamentally undermined. You simply can’t practice biological research effectively if your most basic unit of study is questionable. Try doing a phylogenetic or ecological analysis when it’s not certain which specimens in your lab belong to species A or B, or even Q. Taxonomy is the absolute bedrock of biology and without it, the foundations of our research are going to be awfully shaky.