[Taxacom] Mona Lisa Smile

Thomas Lammers lammers at uwosh.edu
Tue Jul 25 20:04:05 CDT 2006

----- Original Message -----
From: "D. Christopher Rogers" <crogers at ecoanalysts.com>
> The traditional Linnaean classifications provide us with the means of understanding the ecology of the habitats we study. ... There is an international bioassessment industry (I work all over the
world), borne of the desire for clean water, clean soil and clean air, as well as natural and restored wildlife habitat, that relies on Linnaean taxonomy. Therefore, to those of us who work in this field much of
cladistics (Phyllocode and Least Inclusive Taxonomic Units) are of little use, and to some of us in this industry represent "ivory tower thinking".  To support the point that I think Tom Lammers was making, 
organisms are a function of their environment. Their taxonomy, in terms of their  biology and
ecology, are of far greater significance to the general public who wants clean water, clean air, and a healthy environment. If you take an organism out of its environment, and reduce it to a mere terminus on a 
line, you may risk losing everything that made it what it is.<

Exactly.  Thank you.  So much of what passes as systematics today just seems so divorced from reality.  If we are to have credibility in the future, it is essential that we keep biology in our classifications.  I've written before (Syst. Bot. 1999) about the monomania of molecular phylogenetics that has seized our discipline.  Nothing in the last seven years has changed my opinion. 

Tom Lammers

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