|dc.description.abstract||The aim of this thesis is to analyze the science of taxonomy, its development through time, and how effectively it is communicated to the non-scientific public. Taxonomy is the science of classification of organisms of any kind, living and extinct. Taxonomy helps to understand the phylogenetic relationships and the evolution of organisms. Because of this, taxonomy is a fundamental discipline to understand life on Earth and all biological sciences depend on it to achieve their individual goals of helping humankind in their continual struggle for survival.
As a discipline, taxonomy has existed from the start of civilization, and has adapted itself to each new discovery in the domain of biology, expressing in its organization people’s vision of the living world and their place on it. Current taxonomy theories are sustained by the Linnaean classification and the Cladistic method. Using these present models, modern taxonomy has achieved a stable but open state, able to allow new knowledge and self corrections, without risking the integrity of its methods.
Despite all this, most non-specialist people remain unaware of the immensity and variety of life on Earth and, most important, on how dependent people are on each and every species around them. The research made during this thesis shows that mass media, such as nonfiction books, school texts, and the Internet, for a series of reasons, do not accomplish the task of communicating the science of taxonomy in a way that makes the non-specialist public be aware of its importance and the importance of its subject of study: life.
In this context, this thesis proposes the creation of a new communication tool, devised to focus only on topics related to the classification of life, and its presentation to any kind of public. The Tree of Nature website is conceived as an online encyclopedia of life, which structures itself on the Darwinian tree of life and the Cladistic method to show a consistent abstract of the history of life on Earth. This website is based mainly on visuals, avoiding excessive text, scientific jargon and complications related to the laws of hypertext that make other websites difficult and not encouraging to explore. After completing the essential sections of the website, and trying it on specialists in taxonomy and the general public twice, the conclusion is that The Tree of Nature is an effective, although still uncompleted, tool to approach the topic of taxonomy to the general public. Several new additions and corrections will be applied on the medium term to improve the site in all its qualities.||