Taxa and Diagnoses

Mark Garland MAGarland at AOL.COM
Fri Apr 11 18:45:02 CDT 1997

In a message dated 97-04-11 03:51:14 EDT, jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU (Curtis
Clark) writes:

> The issue is not protecting taxa, but protecting species. No one has ever
>  proposed an Asteraceae reserve, for example. Molecular data can indeed do
>  what you say if they show local variation that can't be diagnosed through
>  phenotype. But branching patterns are the stuff of taxa more inclusive
>  species, and whether these can be recognized or not is not really a
>  conservation issue.

I don't know that the conservation issue is as clearcut as all that.  If you
have a species with no close relatives (like the tuatara in New Zealand or
Welwitschia or Ginkgo among plants), wouldn't you give higher priority to its
conservation?  If so, why?  Because it belongs to a rather high-level taxon
all by itself?  If the answer is "yes," then the issue of whether high-level
taxa can be recognized is a conservation issue.

Mark A. Garland
Office of Environmental Services
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
3900 Commonwealth Boulevard, M.S. 140
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
garland_m at
magarland at

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