ATBI "Self-Destructs" and what we do

Richard Jensen rjensen at SAINTMARYS.EDU
Tue May 20 08:23:29 CDT 1997

> >an entomologist (Roger Kitching I think) conducting surveys of Australian
> >rainforest sites, his team wanted to use taxonomic expertise but felt that
> >our methods would take too long before he got a species list, so they used
> >morpho-species instead. The systematics can come later was their point, I
> >know this is concerned with a different field (biodiversity assessment for
> >site evaluation s.str.) but I found it worrying that the systematics can
> >just be leap frogged.
> >
> >This is obviously not the first time this has happened, is it something to
> >worry about?. Are there many other example where names, and phylogeny, are
> >not used by biologists, but who use morphospecies and code number instead?

I agree with Tom Lammer's comments.  They are doing systematics.  The
morpho-species  (phenetic species, etc.) approach is usually our first
clue to diversity.  After all, it's when we notice something different
that we get an indication that we need to look more closely.  We, as
systematists, need to remind ourselves, as well as the rest of the world,
that we need a balance between (1) detecting and documenting biodiversity
(e.g., field work, studies of morphological, genetic, physiological,
behavioral, etc. variability) and (2) developing hypotheses to explain what we
have found (e.g., biogeographic, phylogenetic studies).  Both are necessary
components of systematics (s.l.).

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