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About Taxonomy & Systematics

The description of taxa new to science and the study of evolutionary systems is fundamental for the understanding and conservation of biodiversity and geodiversity, and as such a core task of Naturalis Biodiversity Center.

The new organizational structure of the Sector Research and Education resulted on the one side in new thematic groups focusing on endless forms in nature, on the understanding of evolution and on the dynamics in the terrestrial and marine environment.

On the other side two groups are formed that are close to the core of a natural history institute, namely a group focusing on the discovery of biodiversity, and our museum oriented research group which addresses fundamental taxonomic and systematic research, proudly called Taxonomy and Systematics. 

Our group deliberately is not designed around a limited focal theme, but works along the lines of biological and geological museum objects. It investigates the diversity of recent living organisms, and their history through the fossil and geological record. As will be shown below at least two clusters, ‘Caribbean Marine Biodiversity’ and ‘Deep and Early Earth’, have already emerged.

Our group is strongly involved in the teaching programs of Naturalis, and in public outreach and education. In the subsequent paragraphs the two clusters and some of the other taxonomic experts in the group are introduced.

Erik Smets, a.i. group leader