Ward.Linda at NMNH.SI.EDU
Mon Jun 26 15:46:55 EST 2000
Seems to me that throwing in the page number after the author and year will
in most cases solve the problem with the multiple "kerguelensis"
"antarcticas" etc. in a given paper.
The name though is really meaningless whether it's a binomial, a
uninomial or an NODC code number. The name in fact is invoking a picture in
your mind of a set of characters, for example the general word "dog" could
leave 5 people picturing 5 different dog breeds but "beagle" leaves you a
much more specific picture. You don't go back to the original definition
of "dog" or "beagle" to figure out what is meant by these words, experience
leaves you with a general character set in mind. What we need to do with
the worms is to develop character sets (descriptions) that describe the
various taxa - that can be used by experts and non-experts alike. Depending
on which references you are currently using for your information on a named
taxon you may have one character set in mind while someone else has another
because they are using different resources. It's unrealistic to have people
going back to the original, often inadequate, descriptions; assuming they
can even find it and get it translated if it's in a language they don't
know. Even with the resources we have available in Washington we can not
find all of the original descriptions. Wouldn't it be nice if we could
agree on the characters describing the major taxa and pull them together in
a consistent manner in a set of references? Then as one is working up an
ecological study or as a physiologist is discussing a particular worm they
could say for example, they are looking at taxon X as characterized in the
series "Polychaete Characters, vol. 1". There would then be no confusion as
to what was meant when the name "X" was used.
That's my 2 cents on the subject.
Ms. Linda A. Ward
Department of Invertebrate Zoology
Museum of Natural History
10th St. and Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20560-0163
email: ward.linda at nmnh.si.edu
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