generic oversplitting (heart of the problem)

Barry M. OConnor bmoc at UMICH.EDU
Thu Jul 19 11:36:57 CDT 2001

At 9:32 AM -0400 7/19/01, Panza, Robin wrote:

 Yes, names (Latin, English, Czech, whatever) have serious
>limitations, but we cannot communicate as effectively without them....

I recently had a discussion with a colleague working on higher level
phylogenetic studies involving a very diverse, but taxonomically poorly
studied group.  His proposed methodology is to collect as many taxa as are
available without too much travel, identify them to the lowest level
possible (most of the species would presumably be undescribed), obtain the
relevant sequences, do the analysis and publish.  Voucher specimens of the
organisms sequenced would be deposited, but the species would not be
described.  My question is, is this becoming common practice, and if so,
are we really able to communicate without names?  My colleague's rationale
was that if he had to describe all the new species, he would never get the
phylogenetic work done. - Barry

So many mites, so little time!
Barry M. OConnor
Professor & Curator             phone: (734) 763-4354
Museum of Zoology               FAX: (734) 763-4080
University of Michigan          e-mail: bmoc at
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1079  USA

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