generic oversplitting (heart of the problem)

Bryan Simon Bryan.Simon at ENV.QLD.GOV.AU
Thu Jul 19 01:35:44 CDT 2001

The sentiment expressed by Ken Kinman is surely that we should err on the
side of caution before causing nomenclatural chaos by changing generic
boundaries on the basis of incomplete or partial cladistic analyses of our
study groups.  I am thinking of the grass family where name changes have
tended to proliferate in recent years following cladistic (and phenetic)
work in several groups without a complete sampling of enough (or of all)
species.  Examples I am familiar with are Brachiaria-Urochloa-Eriochloa
complex,  the Setaria-Paspalidium complex, the danthonioid genera, and the
ehrhartoid genera. Furthermore although the proliferation of molecular
studies in the family in recent years has assisted greatly in understanding
better the phylogeny of the grasses surely it is essential for there to be a
correlation of observable morphological synapomorphies to be able to define
and communicate about the clades produced by these analyses, especially to
the users of our taxonomic information.   Sometimes there are no supporting
morphological characters and the compilation of identificatory keys to the
clades (taxa) presents difficulties.

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