species/subspecies query

Niklas Wahlberg niklas.wahlberg at HELSINKI.FI
Thu Nov 16 08:09:17 CST 2000

Steve Shattuck wrote:
> As the responses to this question have shown already, the concept of
> "species" varies widely and with little consensus.  Darwin didn't offer a

Indeed it is so, but shouldn't one consider the observation that
speciation is a continuous and dynamic process? In other words, at any
given point in time you will find some groups of organisms that can be
classified as species with no problems, but there will be other groups
that are in various stages of speciation. "Species" is as real a unit as
"population" or even "subspecies", but one has to realize that there is
a continuum from individual to species (to all of life??!). It is our
job to draw the lines where we think the borders are (eg between
population and subspecies), but at the same time we must accept the
arbitrariness of these borders.
  Hmm, I hope this makes sense. It's 8 AM and I need some cofee.


   Niklas Wahlberg
   Metapopulation Research Group
   Department of Ecology and Systematics
   Division of Population Biology
   PO Box 17 (Arkadiankatu 7)
   00014 University of Helsinki
   p. +358-9-191 28778, fax +358-9-191 28701

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