On the Job

Article excerpt

TAXONOMIST & HEAD OF DEPARTMENT

Dr Paul Taylor places his job under the microscope and talks to Chris Amodeo

Occupation: Head of Invertebrates and Plants Division, and Bryozoa research in the Department of Palaeontology of the Natural History Museum, London

Age: 47

Salary: around 40,000 [pounds sterling]

Education/training: BSc in Geology; PhD in Palaeontology; two-year post-doctoral fellowship

What are Bryozoa and what is taxonomy? Bryozoans are a type of colony-forming invertebrate animal that have left a rich fossil record. They are also major components of many modern seabed environments. Taxonomy is the identification, description and classification of organisms. I specialise in both modern and fossil bryozoans.

What does your job involve? Many administration meetings. Fortunately, I still have a lot time to get on with research. This involves much looking down microscopes. I also deal with visitors, often scientists visiting from abroad.

Why do they come to you? Firstly, we have a huge fossil collection here at The Natural History Museum. Also, there are not very many people working on the taxonomy of bryozoans -- perhaps fewer than 50 in the world, so my name seems to crop up quite often. …