Hediste diversicolor and Streblospio paper
gregr at bio.usyd.edu.au
Mon Jun 26 15:47:00 EST 2000
>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
The papers that Linda and then Geoff refer to are:
Pleijel F. 1999. Phylogenetic taxonomy, a farewell to species, and a
revision of Heteropodarke (Hesionidae, Polychaeta, Annelida). Syst.
Biol. 48: 755-789.
Pleijel F, and Rouse GW. 2000. An example of the LITU concept in
taxonomy: capricornia (Hesionidae, Polychaeta), new taxon. Zool.
Scri. in press.
Pleijel F, and Rouse GW. 2000. Least-inclusive taxonomic unit: A new
taxonomic concept for biology. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 267: 627-630.
These present a proposal to eliminate species from any taxonomic
system. This proposal is predicated on the elimination of binomens,
which will certainly be implemented in the forthcoming Phylogenetic
Code of Nomenclature http://www.ohiou.edu/phylocode/. The issue about
whether species will be implemented has yet to be decided, but most
favour the retention of these as taxonomic entities. So, one should
be aware that a system of single names for all taxa is being
developed, and will be available in the year or two.
If you don't like it, don't use it. For those who do like it, there
will be new journals that will run in parallel with those working of
the ICZN. Will there be a split in taxonomists? Yes, of course. Will
we be a laughing stock as Jim suggests? Well, maybe taxonomy will get
the attention it deserves. Which system will 'win'? Who knows.
Now a major issue that has yet to be resolved is how we convert
existing binomens into a uninomen form. Some people, like Geoff and
Jim, clearly think that the homonym problem that will occur by
dropping the generic name will be too problematic. Personally I dont
think so, but there are various solutions as to how to perform the
conversion and these are outlined in:
Cantino PD, Bryant HN, de Queiroz K, Donoghue MJ, Eriksson T, Hillis
DM, and Lee MSY. 1999. Species names in phylogenetic nomenclature.
Systematic Biology 48: 790-807.
It would appear that one of the 13 solutions to converting binomens
offered in this paper will be implemented in the new PhyloCode. Names
will then have to be officially converted from the existing Linnean
format to be acceptable under Phylogenetic nomenclature.
As to how new names will be erected under the Phylogenetic Code of
Nomenclature. There will be a choice between naming taxa as clades or
as species. The basics of this are already outlined at the website
above. 'Species' is still a problematic issue, the same as it ever
was. But ignoring that for the moment, one way of presenting names in
a clear and unambiguous away is as Fredrik and I do in one of our
papers. We name a new taxon in Hesionidae and this is indicated in
the beginning of the paper as capricornia (Hesionidae, Polychaeta) to
place the reader in the general taxonomic context by using more
inclusive taxonomic names that are not inextricably linked to less
inclusive names. Thereafter in the paper it is referred to as
capricornia. It will always be known as capricornia. The name will be
stable, unlike the present system which would force us to give this
entity two names and, given the vagaries of taxonomists, potentially
force a change of name at some point, when the actual concept of the
entity does not change.
At the PhyloCode website there is a reference to a Discussion group.
The PhyloCode is still being developed. Feel free to join up and
express your views. Final codification of the system is some way off,
and will probably involve an International Congress.
School of Biological Sciences A08
University of Sydney
gregr at bio.usyd.edu.au
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Fax (02) 9351 4119
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