On the overlap between scientific and societal taxonomic attentions - Insights for conservation.


Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Institute of Hydrobiology, Na Sádkách 702/7, 370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic; Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Müggelseedamm 310, 12587 Berlin, Germany; Institute for Multidisciplinary Research, University of Belgrade, Kneza Viseslava 1, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia. Electronic address: [Email]


Attention directed at different species by society and science is particularly relevant within the field of conservation, as societal preferences will strongly impact support for conservation initiatives and their success. Here, we assess the association between societal and research interests in four charismatic and threatened species groups, derived from a range of different online sources and social media platforms as well as scientific publications. We found a high level of concordance between scientific and societal taxonomic attention, which was consistent among assessed species groups and media sources. Results indicate that research is apparently not as disconnected from the interests of society as it is often reproached, and that societal support for current research objectives should be adequate. While the high degree of similarity between scientific and societal interest is both striking and satisfying, the dissimilarities are also interesting, as new scientific findings may constitute a constant source of novel interest for the society. In that respect, additional efforts will be necessary to draw scientific and societal focus towards less charismatic species that are in urgent need of research and conservation attention.


Birds of prey,Carnivora,Charisma,Marine mammals,Primates,Societal attention,