Why have Annelida List?

David W Kirtley Ph.D. dwkirtley at igc.apc.org
Tue Nov 21 04:40:22 EST 1995


Subject: Why Do We Need a Newsgroup?
To: annelida at net.bio.net

Dear Dr. Blake, 

In reponse to your solicitation for comments about the
necessity and utility of "another" discussion group I
wold like to remark that in your initial query you listed 
the following very good reasons to develop the forum on
Annelids and related forms as follows:

< I would envision that there might be 
<1) announcements of meetings, 
<2) appearance of books, 
<3) requests for specimens to address research problems, 
<4) requests for information about species or topics, 
<5) discussions about various topics such as sibling species, 
	cosmopolitan species, 
<6) long-standing taxonomic problems such as the number of genera 
	of hesionids and ampharetids, 
<7) how many polychaete families do we really have?, 
<8) or whatever.  
<9 The use of this List for Discussion topics is probably where 
	the list could fill a niche not already covered.  

I can only speak from the narrow perspective of a person who 
has had an almost exclusive interest and experience in a single 
family of polychaetes, the Sabellariidae. I might be expected 
to be more embarrassed or intimidated by that handicap than 
I am, but the truth is: I am not.

The characterization of the possible participants in the List

<categories: lurkers and chatterers. 

is overly restrictive and needs expansion.  I don't plan
to be found in either of these two groups, and certainly would 
not expect to find you, or any other serious polychaete workers 
in either category.

This is not to propose that they be excluded or restrained in 
any way.  Hopefully, the lurkers spend some of their idle
time looking through a microscope and enjoy the complexity
and diversity of polychaetes and related forms.  When they
lose interest in that, it's possible that they'll find, and 
read, the relavent literature. When they feel like they have
really thought of something to say, or some questions to ask, 
they can jump on their PC and broadcast it to an audience with 
interest in that sort of thing.  They will not have to wait long 
for a response. 

<Is there enough information on polychaetes and related annelid  
groups to warrant still another internet site? 

In the case of the Sabellariidae there is a great deal more 
useful information that is to yet to be derived from the study
the animals, themselves, than is available in the existing 

Most of the previous published accounts have relied too heavily 
on the assumption that previous "authorities" had the opportunity,
allocated time, access the available literature, and financial 
support to perform their work with sufficiency and completeness.  
This has to my knowledge never been the case and the assumption is,
therefore, a false one.

The suggestion that some standardized "form" for the reporting
of collection and locality data, diagnostic criteria, determinations, 
museum specimen numbers, etc. is, in itself, a dramatic example 
of how quickly good ideas and plans can be disseminated over a List, 
actively evaluated, critcised, improved upon and, hopefully, put 
to work.  I have a skeletal, primitive, form that includes a list 
of what I think are a basic data set for the characterization of the 
genera and species of Sabellariidae.  If followed, this form can help 
identify any known species in the family with what I consider to be 
adequate accuracy. It will also provide a dependable basis for 
recognizing previously undescribed species.  Trouble is, I don't 
know enough about computer-database formulation to take it very far.  
I made some e-mail inquiries but the only response I recieved was 
some price quotations that were "out of reach."

I would hope that anyone with a serious interest in polychaetes and 
related annelid groups can use the forum to communicate information 
and ideas with people with congruent and convergent interests, ask 
and answer questions, and reinforce each other's knowledge.

David W. Kirtley


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