Hediste diversicolor and Streblospio paper

Greg Rouse 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.


Greg Rouse
School of Biological Sciences A08
University of Sydney
N.S.W. 2006

gregr at bio.usyd.edu.au
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