ATBI "Self-Destructs" and what we do

Murray Fletcher fletchm at AGRIC.NSW.GOV.AU
Wed May 21 09:05:54 CDT 1997


On Tue, 20 May 1997, Andrew Whittington wrote:

>
> >so they used morpho-species instead. The systematics can come later was
> >their point.
>
> Seems illogical and short-sighted.  How can they ever hope to use their data
> comparitively?  Morpho-sp. 1 of one author will most likely be VERY
> different to Morpho-sp 1 of the next author.
>

It's all a question of the purpose for undertaking the systematics in the
first place. In Roger Kitching's case, they need to know how many species
are present in site A as compared with site B and how many of these are
shared between the sites. Assuming they are able to validly distinguish
morphospecies consistently between the sites, they are able to produce
statistical comparisons of the two sites, based on species compositions,
that enable them to make management decisions about the sites. It would
be better to have validly published species names confirmed by specialist
taxonomists but as this "luxury" is not available in the time available
for their work they have developed methodologies that allow them to
achieve their immediate objectives which, after all, is what they are
being paid for. As long as voucher samples of all the morphospecies are
lodged with an appropriate institution, the "proper" systematics CAN come
later.

Murray Fletcher




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