Names for BioDiv Informatics

Faunaplan at AOL.COM Faunaplan at AOL.COM
Tue Feb 1 05:10:08 CST 2005

Dear All
so far, published information on taxa is distributed in thousands of papers &
websites and unpublished data are mainly deposited in collections ("libraries
of life"). Still there is no infrastructure for easy access to such vital
information, but GBIF and its partners have started to build the roads...

What I feel is still basically missing are checklists of valid names that
could serve as keyword directories for the fast-growing biodiversity info system.

Ron Gatrell has recently used the term "taxonomically correct names" when he
announced the Lepidoptera checklists, and many taxonomists have already
created wonderful on-line checklists of valid names.
But, will there ever be checklists of universally accepted/ valid names?
In my understanding, valid names are all Code-compliant names that are
accepted by individual taxonomists according to their preferred concepts. E.g.,
Bembidion (Nothocys) jeannelicum Toledano, 2002 and Nothocys nitidus Jeannel, 1962
are both valid/ accepted names for the same neotropic ground beetle, and I
cannot say one is "correct" and the other one is not; it depends on whether you
prefer Bembidion as a wide or narrow genus...
Yet there is no doubt that universally accepted names lists for the purposes
of biodiversity informatics would facilitate a lot of things. So why not use a
specific term in order to avoid confusion, - e.g. "standard names",
"keynames", or whatever you prefer.
Such names would have to be carefully checked for Code-compliance, and they
should represent current systematic concepts as far as possible (preferrably
staying on a moderate "conservative" side, especially in context with premature
splitting of traditional genera).
In other words, we would have 3 categories of names that should not be
1.) Available/ validly published names, i.e., all names that are Code
compliant incl. synonyms, etc.
2.) Valid/ accepted names, i.e., all names that are accepted as valid by
individual taxonomists/ representing alternative classifications.
3.) "Standard names" (or whatever term you prefer), i.e., all names that are
recommended for biodiversity informatics purposes; names that would
facilitate globally compatible "species banks", on-line species distribution maps,
google searches, etc.
Such lists (with yearly updates) could be organized by GBIF partners, - and,
actually, they are already offered for several groups of organisms (e.g.,
Species2000 checklists).

Well, these are just some musings that came to my mind while finishing the
second edition of the carabid beetle checklist.
I do feel enthusiastic about the chance to contribute to the CoL (Catalogue
of Life) but the names I can provide should not be misunderstood as
disapproving alternative taxonomic concepts...

Best wishes,

Wolfgang Lorenz
Buero/ Verlag fuer Faunistik und Umweltplanung
D-82327 Tutzing

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