Uninomials

James Blake jablake at ix.netcom.com
Sat Jun 24 17:05:18 EST 2000


Geoff Read wrote:


> OK, I'm exaggerating for effect. But the probable necessity for extra
> verbiage to qualify the uninominals, and the lack of an instant
> recognition factor do seem to be significant drawbacks. I haven't got the 
> papers in front of me but, as I recall, I was left with the impression that
> the day-to- day utility of the system for ordinary biologists was somewhat
> underexplained. 

Geoff has stated what many of us have been thinking.  Speaking as a
person who deals with large ecological databases, a variety of agencies
who sponsor development of same, and often as one who has to explain
taxonomic changes to non-biologists, managers, regulators, politicians,
and even fellow biologists, I can tell you all that uninomials would
create total chaos.  I will go even further and state that we
taxonomists are often ridiculed for making name changes; to switch to a
system such as uninomial nomenclature would not only further engender
such ridicule, but would make taxonomy the laughing stock of the
biological world.  What is needed is not a pure, dyed-in-the-wool
phylogenetic-based classification system, but one that is practical and
workable for the larger world that needs to know what to call this
organism or that. In other words, something that is very practical.
Binomial nomenclature has worked well in this regard.

However, I have a solution for those who insist on a uninomial system.
We should use a system of unique numbers and bar codes for each species.
In fact, there already is such a list of species numbers.  It is called
the NODC (National Oceanographic Data Center) Taxonomic Code List. You
can get a CD-ROM of the list from NOAA; it is updated constantly. The
code  numbers are very useful when analyzing benthic databases because
the multivariate software can sort the numbers easily.  NODC has a
system for establishing unique numbers for new species; recommendations
are submitted to Mr. George Heimerdinger at NOAA in Woods Hole. Check
their web page.  I list below some favorite examples taken from our
Massachusetts Bay benthic database: species name and (NODC Code). So, if
you don't like to use two names, use the unique number.  With this
system, one does not have to worry about all of the synonyms such as
australis, kerguelensis, setosa, spinosa, cornuta, etc.  Now, doesn't
this sound romantic?

SCOLOPLOS ARMIGER (5001400301)
LEITOSCOLOPLOS ROBUSTUS (5001400304)
SCOLOPLOS ACMECEPS (5001400311)
ARICIDEA CATHERINAE (5001410208)
ARICIDEA QUADRILOBATA (5001410217)
ARICIDEA CERRUTII (50014102CERR)
PARAONIS FULGENS  (5001410302)
LEVINSENIA GRACILIS (5001410801)
DIPOLYDORA SOCIALIS  (5001430402)
DIPOLYDORA CAULLERYI (5001430404)
DIPOLYDORA QUADRILOBATA  (5001430408)
POLYDORA WEBSTERI  (5001430412)
POLYDORA AGGREGATA (5001430438)
POLYDORA CORNUTA (5001430448)
PRIONOSPIO STEENSTRUPI  (5001430506)
SPIO FILICORNIS (5001430701)
SPIO SETOSA (5001430704)
SPIO LIMICOLA (5001430707)
SPIO THULINI (5001430709)
SPIOPHANES BOMBYX  (5001431001)
PYGOSPIO ELEGANS (5001431302)
STREBLOSPIO BENEDICTI  (5001431801)
SCOLELEPIS BOUSFIELDI (5001432002)
SCOLELEPIS TEXANA (5001432006)
CHAETOZONE SETOSA  (5001500401)

Jim Blake

----------------------------------

James A. Blake
ENSR Marine & Coastal Center
89 Water Street
Woods Hole, MA 02543
PH: 508-457-7900
<jablake at ix.netcom.com>


-- ANNELIDA LIST
   Discuss  =  <annelida at net.bio.net> = talk to all members
   Server =  <biosci-server at net.bio.net> = un/subscribes
   Archives  = http://www.bio.net/hypermail/annelida/
   Resources = http://biodiversity.uno.edu/~worms/annelid.html
--







More information about the Annelida mailing list