Real Species

Michael Vincent vincenma at MUOHIO.EDU
Thu Apr 15 07:40:18 CDT 2004

At 09:14 AM 4/15/2004 +0100, Roger Hyam wrote:
>3) There are estimates that there are 300,000 plant species (including
>the algae and bryophytes). If this is so why can't we agree on what they
>are - even after 250 years of trying (since L.).  300k entities and a
>couple of million names is really fairly trivial in terms of modern IT.
>We could have a nice little database with them all in and then spend our
>time arguing about how they are related. But we don't. Why not? Either
>they are very hard to find (which would be odd if they were just waiting
>to be discovered) or we are totally incompetent!

Roger must not be aware how few people are actually doing Alpha taxonomy
now, and how much of the earth remains relatively underexplored...  "IT"
cannot get out there in the field, locate, collect, identify, and name
those organisms for us.  "IT" does not pay for field trips.  "IT" does not
take the time to study hundreds or thousands of specimens in order to
determine whether or not a particular specimen is an undescribed
taxon.  How can we have a database of all the organisms if not all of the
organisms are named and understood?

M.A. Vincent

Dr. Michael A. Vincent, Curator
W.S. Turrell Herbarium (MU)
Department of Botany
Miami University
Oxford, Ohio 45056 USA
TEL: 513-529-2755
FAX: 513-529-4243
Email: VincenMA at
My web page:
Herbarium web page:
Botany Department:

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