[Annelida] Traditional taxonomy discussion

Maria Cristina Gambi via annelida%40net.bio.net (by gambimc from szn.it)
Mon Feb 8 11:19:56 EST 2010

Dears all, we followed the discussion about the paper of Boero on 
Biodiversity, and the role and evaluation of taxonomy/systematics works ...
we agree in general terms with the scenario depicted by Boero and we think 
that there is not a single or a best approach and solution... and possibly 
we need to integrate more in the future and the "classical" morphological
approaches..., although a general re-evaluation someìhow of the taxonomic 
literature is urgently needed...
We would like to inform that the first day- introductory lecture, related 
to taxonomy, at the next Polychaete Conference in Lecce (20-26 June 2010) 
have been planned by Nando Boero and we asked him to focus on this topic...
so we invite all of you to consider that in the occasion of the 10th IPC we 
could come out with a common document, a "manifesto"  about the possible 
future ways to face the taxonomic crisis in the Era of Bioiversity....This 
could be discussed during the Conference and the IPA Committe and assembly, 
and the possible document could be disseminated in different venues.
Please for those of you which have planned to come, we suggest to be 
prepared in advance and eventually with a draft for a common proposal.
Thanks for the attention,
Maria Cristina and Adriana

At 23.36 07/02/2010, Brian Paavo wrote:
>It was a bit heavy-handed Kirk and presenting haughty absolutes is rarely 
>productive.  Geoff, I agree that, given the complexity of developmental 
>and environmental interactions with phenotypes, that a genetics-heavy 
>approach to taxonomy is not a bad thing.  I also support your constructive 
>suggestion that our political efforts (feeble as they are) focus on 
>standardisation and improvements to descriptive procedures (e.g. allowing 
>digital descriptions, keeping a register, broadening the acceptable forms 
>- not substance - of names, etc.) .  I still believe that we need to train 
>more taxonomists and anatomists and diversity funding is currently an 
>important part of that.  Not only are such skills required to effectively 
>build upon the monumental work of the past, but observational skills lead 
>to mechanical and ecological insights which would often be missed by 
>gene-jocks.  We all need to guide the future of our work.  I personally 
>look forward to the deeper ecological insights to be gained using the 
>computational perspective of information (genes) influences on networks of 
>moving carbon constrained by the abiotic environment and I still want to 
>move our basic methodologies forward, but the 'old-fashioned' naturalist 
>skills of observing individuals, morphologies, behaviours, and populations 
>are what provide the context and value to our insights.  It is worthwhile 
>to collectively discuss what kind of future we'd like to see.  We've 
>heaped a lot of responsibility and faith upon the shoulders of the EOL folks.
>What do we want and how can we and our respective institutions support 
>it?  I'm confident that 99% of us help broaden awareness locally.  Is it 
>useful to consider how we can unify our impact and entice more workers 
>through further-reaching media?
>Geoff Read wrote:
>>Hi Kirk,
>>Thanks for the short fussilade. Forgive me if in my feeble attempt to 
>>introduce this article for discussion, be that subsequently fervent or 
>>otherwise, I have appeared to intrude into the world of science 
>>philosophy, where you are much more comfortable than I am. But you have 
>>presumed too much in the proximity of two sentences. I don't have an 
>>opinion on how scientific future or current molecular taxomomists might be.
>>>>>On 8/02/2010 at 10:19 a.m., "Kirk Fitzhugh" <kfitzhug from nhm.org> wrote:
>>>"Personally I tend to agree with the outsiders that traditional 
>>>descriptive taxonomy has a weak claim to be real science. Soon only 
>>>molecular taxonomists will exist. This is not a bad thing as long as 
>>>they can also handle and include organism phenotype descriptions."
>>>How is 'traditional descriptive taxonomy' any less scientific than 'only 
>>>molecular taxonomists' [sic!]? I'd be fascinated to know of the 
>>>definitive text book on doing science that substantiates your claim that 
>>>presenting hypotheses isn't a fundamental part of doing science. None of 
>>>us should condone a world of 'only molecular taxonomists.' To do so 
>>>would be a bastardization of the very principles of science.
>>>J. Kirk Fitzhugh, Ph.D.
>>>Curator of Polychaetes
>>>Invertebrate Zoology Section
>>>Research & Collections Branch
>>>Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
>>>900 Exposition Blvd Los Angeles CA 90007
>>>Phone: 213-763-3233
>>>FAX:    213-746-2999
>>>e-mail: kfitzhug from nhm.org 
>>>-----Original Message-----
>>>From: annelida-bounces from oat.bio.indiana.edu on behalf of Geoff Read
>>>Sent: Sun 2/7/2010 12:49 PM
>>>To: Annelida from magpie.bio.indiana.edu Subject: [Annelida] Traditional 
>>>taxonomy discussion
>>>This commentary is being discussed. Personally I tend to agree with the 
>>>outsiders that traditional descriptive taxonomy has a weak claim to be 
>>>real science. Soon only molecular taxonomists will exist. This is not a 
>>>bad thing as long as they can also handle and include organism phenotype 
>>>descriptions. Many can't at the moment. I worry more about the problems 
>>>with the Zoological Code, and lack of consensus on the way forward, and 
>>>the energy wasted on futility of  archaisms such as gender agreement, 
>>>minutiae of revisionism in publication dates, obscure priorities, and 
>>>especially keeping to print-only validity of names, and not registering 
>>>all new names, than the issues raised here. Politics is everywhere.
>>>Boero F 2010. The Study of Species in the Era of Biodiversity: A Tale of 
>>>Stupidity. Diversity 2: 115-126.
>>>[Open access]
>>>http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/d2010115 http://www.mdpi.com/1424-2818/2/1/115
>>NIWA is the trading name of the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric 
>>Research Ltd.
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gruppo di Ecologia del Benthos
Laboratorio di Ecologia Funzionale ed Evolutiva
Stazione Zoologica "Anton Dohrn" di Napoli
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e-mail:gambimc from szn.it
mariacristina.gambi from szn.it

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