Current aims and objectives

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Current aims and objectives:

The Trust chooses to maintain a relatively low profile.

The subjects of taxonomy and nomenclature although important are not current mainstream issues for most ornithologists, although for professionals an understanding of each of these two subjects is desirable, and anyone writing a paper dealing with taxonomy, and especially ones on molecular studies that demonstrate likely phylogenetic relationships, should make themselves familiar with the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (see below). For this reason the Trust wishes to develop connections to organisations world-wide that share these interests, either in relation to birds or across the field of zoology at large.

The promotion and discussion of its ideas.

The Trust recommends (i) that avian taxonomists should be fully cognisant of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (this, due to time constraints, often being inadequately taught to university students) and of ICZN initiatives such as ZooBank, and the potential value of Lists of Available Names (see ICZN website); (ii) that a museum curator’s job description should encourage some hands-on research even if the vast majority of time commitment must be applied to collection management; (iii) that a museum’s history of both its collections and its collection management practices should be fully researched and recorded, and should be made known as part of the process of staff succession management; (iv) that research ornithologists not employed in museums should consider seeking an associate relationship with an appropriate museum, and (v) that the occasional, and somewhat unavoidable, problem arising from molecular sampling of a specimen that bore an incorrect label skewing a molecular study should be made public for the benefit of the community and the reputation of the museum holding the specimen. This is likely to be increasingly important as molecular evidence separates specimens supposedly of one taxon into two or more taxa where morphology alone may reveal no difference.

The protection of the Trust’s assets.

In line with the spirit of UK Charity Law the Trustees seek to continue to respect the wishes of those who have assigned assets to the Trust in perpetuity.

The management of the Trust needs only a modest income to survive and an occasional legacy or donation goes a long way to support projects but until such income reaches a higher plateau it will rarely suffice. Some Trust projects, including those involving database development and management, and timely website display maintenance for evolving information, are costly and a subscription-based access to some information will be appropriate as a way to fund such projects. When such a system is introduced the benefits and costs will be clearly explained.

Sagittarius serpentarius (Secretarybird)