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Taxonomy Australia

Introducing Taxonomy Australia

Australia teems with life.


From the billions of bacteria, fungi and other microbes in our soils and seas to the myriad creatures that create and inhabit our coral reefs, rainforests, wildernesses and agricultural landscapes, Australia is alive.


A sound understanding of our biodiversity is critical, particularly as we seek to achieve both environmental and economic sustainability in the face of rapid global change. And yet, our understanding of Australia's species is limited. Best estimates suggest that a majority – around 70% – of our species remain undiscovered, un-named and un-documented.

Taxonomy and biosystematics – the disciplines of biology that study, document, name and characterise biodiversity – provide the framework for this much-needed sound understanding of the species with which we share this continent.


Collecting insects and other invertebrates at Olkola, Queensland, during a BushBlitz expedition.

Credit; Gary Cranitch. © Queensland Museum

With so many species still to discover, taxonomy and biosystematics have a large task. At current capacity, it will take an estimated 400 years to discover the remainder of Australia's species. During that time, many are likely to become extinct.

For this reason, Taxonomy Australia is seeking to invigorate and boost taxonomy and biosystematics in Australia, to help provide a better response to this urgent need.

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A botanical intern from the Australian National Herbarium's internship program

Photo: Bronwyn Collins © Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research.

Taxonomy Australia aims to:

  • increase the profile and understanding of taxonomy and biosystematics in the community and with government and industry.

  • help bring about a greatly accelerated discovery and documentation of Australia's undiscovered species

  • implement the recommendations of the decadal plan for taxonomy and biosystematics

Taxonomy Australia is a program of the Australian Academy of Science​. It is governed by a Steering Committee comprising leaders in the field, and representing the Australian taxonomy and biosystematics community.

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One of the specimen stores at the Western Australian Museum, for alcohol-preserved voucher specimens. Specimens in collections like these are a critical resource for understanding our biodiversity.

Credit: Western Australian Museum

You can help achieve these goals by becoming a member of, and supporting, Taxonomy Australia.

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