David H. Griffin griffin at
Mon Jun 19 07:56:29 EST 1995

From: MaryP at (Palm, Mary)
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 1995 11:04:51 -0600
To: griffin at (David H. Griffin)
Subject: RE: Nomenclature

Hi Dave
Could you give a few examples of problems that have arisen when citing
authorities for fungi cited from other publications?  That would help
discussing the points that you've raised.

Examples abound in the literature, I will choose a hypothetical one
rather than single one out for criticism.

First, do we agree that the identification of a fungus is not complete
without the authority citation?

Second, All names of investigators are completely ficticious, and any
resemblance to anyone living or dead are totally accidental.

Suppose that I am writing a paper about some work on Achlya bisexualis
Coker and Couch. In this writing I wish to refer to related work done
on Saprolegnia ferax by Someone Else (1963). Further, that Dr. Else has
not provided an authority citation in her paper.

If the principle queried above is correct, then Dr. Else has not made a
complete identification of the fungus that she studied. Am I to
complete that identification in my paper? On what basis? I have not
seen the fungus, and cannot confirm anything about its identity.

Of course, I might also cite a paper by Nobody Nose (1986) in which Dr.
Nose has written about Saprolegnia ferax (Gruith.) Thuret; therefore
fully identified. Should I apply the authorities used by Nose (1986) to
the work by Else (1963)? On what basis?

Should I ignore Else (1963) as faulty work? I think not, it is terribly
relevant, and would be so even if Else had completely misidentified the
fungus and had actually studied Saprolegnia latvica Apis. Indeed, Nose
might have been a perfectly competent cell biologist, but an excrable
fungus identifier and had actually studied Aphanomyces sparrowii
Cutter. Without voucher specimens we could never solve these problems.
That is another issue.

The answer for me is to let the identification and the authority rest
with the original author. It is not my responsibility without some
further basis for making a decision. In general, we do not have a
rational basis for adding facts to another persons work.

Do these examples suffice?


David H. Griffin
Department of Environmental & Forest Biology
College of Environmental Science and Forestry
350 Illick Hall
One Forestry Drive
Syracuse NY 13210-2788
e-mail: griffin at

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