Time to update taxonomy? Article from BioMedNet [Snip w/link]

Ken Kinman kinman at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat Feb 1 03:34:06 CST 2003


John,
     I can see your point, but with so many taxa to choose from, surely we
can find some that are at least semi-poorly known, but still not extremely
difficult to find.  We certainly don't want to be doing such an experiment
on a group which has endangered species.  But on the other hand, we wouldn't
want it to be done on taxa which have already been studied extensively
either.
     As one of our member's postings periodically notes----so many mites and
so little time.  I would think an understudied family of mites would be an
ideal candidate.  Certain families of nematodes might be another
possibility.  Surely there must be a lot of "unglamorous" taxa that have
fallen through the cracks that could benefit from such scrutiny, which
scientists worldwide would be willing to collect if they felt it was a
project of special significance (even though they might be taxa they would
otherwise have no interest in).
           ------  Ken

******************************************
>From: John Noyes <jsn at NHM.AC.UK>
>Reply-To: John Noyes <jsn at NHM.AC.UK>
>To: TAXACOM at USOBI.ORG
>Subject: Re: Time to update taxonomy? Article from BioMedNet [Snip w/link]
>Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2003 15:49:32 +0000
>
>Ken,
>
>Agreed. Though, t might be a bit paradoxical to choose a large poorly known
>insect genus. By its nature a poorly known genus is poorly known, amongst
>other things, because it is relatively hard to collect and it might require
>a gargantuan effort to obtain a big enough sample to use all three
>approaches and make it worthwhile. For instance the genus Aprostocetus (in
>Hymenoptera) will certainly include more than 10,000 species (fewer than
>1000 described). It would take a real effort over several years to collect
>even 20% of the species. It would be an ideal genus on which to do this
>sort of work because identification of the species using traditional
>taxonomy is really almost impossible. Again a bit of a paradox here because
>comparing the "DNA first" approach using traditional morphological methods
>would obviously be very difficult.
>
>John
>
>At 01:35 PM 1/31/2003 +0000, Ken Kinman wrote:
> >Dear All,
> >      I just want to add my voice to the chorus opposed to making this
> >DNA/Barcode proposal "mandatory".  But let's face it,  on a list like
> >Taxacom, this is a bit like preaching to the choir.
> >      I think a middle ground approach to this proposal (which would be
> >agreeable to most everyone) would be one or more "test cases" to see how
> >well this would work in practice.  We could choose a few taxa (families
>or
> >large genera) that are poorly known anyway, and compare the results from:
> >DNA alone, traditional approaches alone, and thirdly a combined approach.
> >The third approach is bound to be the best, but it would be very
>instructive
> >to see how well DNA alone would do.  And in the process, some poorly
>known
> >taxa would get some much needed attention.
> >     The point is that we should try this out on a small scale.  Maybe a
> >mollusc family, a large insect genus or family of mites, and some worm
>and
> >plant taxa as well.  Perhaps we will find that a "DNA first" approach
>will
> >work well for some groups and not for others.  It would be a very
> >interesting scientific experiment and we would no doubt learn a great
>deal
> >(in more ways than one).
> >         ----- My two cents,
> >                    Ken Kinman
> >
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