[Taxacom] encyclopedia of life, differential biology

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at mobot.org
Tue May 15 12:26:51 CDT 2007


I propose that a real-time process-based species concept based on
comparative biology (evolution, evo-devo, ecology, everything and
anything characterizing a species) is a proper alternative to the
present phylogenetic species concept. This is what is used in
biosystematic studies. The phylogenetic species concept is very limited,
and phylogenetic information can be a part of a larger concept.

Most taxonomists expect that a description of a species is limited to
morphology and other information, breeding system, geography, phenology,
the like, should be in a different paragraph. This is fine if keys only
referred to morphology, but if species genuinely differed in other
respects, this should form part of the description (that which
distinguishes a species from similar species).

EoL could help with this by not limiting its search capabilities to
morphology and phylogeny.

******************************
Richard H. Zander 
Voice: 314-577-0276
Missouri Botanical Garden
PO Box 299
St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 USA
richard.zander at mobot.org
Web sites: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/
and http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/bfna/bfnamenu.htm
For FedEx and UPS use:
Missouri Botanical Garden
4344 Shaw Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63110
******************************
> -----Original Message-----
> From: David Remsen [mailto:dremsen at gbif.org]
> Sent: Monday, May 14, 2007 8:35 PM
> To: Richard Zander
> Cc: Shorthouse, David; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] encyclopedia of life, differential biology
> 
> Hi Richard,
> 
> I can imagine how EoL can provide you with data-mined access to all
papers
> in all fields on a particular taxon.   Can you tell me what you mean
by
> "how particular searched-for species differ in their biology?"   I'm
not
> quite clear on what you mean.   What should the data-mining do to
throw
> light on how species differ?
> 
> - David Remsen
> 
> >
> > Taxonomy progresses from a simple initial distinguishing of
something
> > that appears "new" to a taxonomist, being described morphologically
with
> > a station or general distribution cited, then progresses as we learn
> > more though, maybe synonymy, or maybe continued recognition with
further
> > distribution information and biological observations, coupled with
> > hypotheses of relationship and evolutionary ecology and maybe
> > developmental characters, and phenology, and essentially the whole
> > biosystematic system of study.
> >
> > What we get, ideally, are ultimately species distinguished in
real-time
> > by comparative biology. Or maybe differential evolutionary ecology.
This
> > is what papers in journals about biodiversity emphasize.
> >
> > If the EoL provided taxonomists with data-mined access to all papers
in
> > all fields that throw light on how particular searched-for species
> > differ in their biology, then it would be indispensable.
> >
> > ******************************
> > Richard H. Zander
> > Voice: 314-577-0276
> > Missouri Botanical Garden
> > PO Box 299
> > St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 USA
> > richard.zander at mobot.org
> > Web sites: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/
> > and http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/bfna/bfnamenu.htm
> > For FedEx and UPS use:
> > Missouri Botanical Garden
> > 4344 Shaw Blvd.
> > St. Louis, MO 63110
> > ******************************
> >
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: Shorthouse, David [mailto:dps1 at ualberta.ca]
> >> Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2007 8:57 PM
> >> To: Richard Zander; Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> >> Subject: RE: [Taxacom] encylopedia of life
> >>
> >> Richard,
> >>
> >> What would make EoL indispensable for you? If you had your say in
its
> >> architecture, what would you want?
> >>
> >> Sure, money in the coffers equals prestige for a short-sighted
Dean.
> > It'll
> >> be interesting when the $10 PCR device nears production:
> >> http://medgadget.com/archives/2007/05/10_dna_replicator.html. That
> > ought
> >> to
> >> be a great leveler.
> >>
> >> But what we really need here is to chip away at journal impact
> > factors.
> >> That
> >> ultimately is the well from which money springs. If the EoL
workbench
> > can
> >> play a role in that somehow, then I will absolutely spend a couple
of
> >> weekends writing species pages or wake-up early a few days every
week
> > to
> >> contribute content. Heck, I'll even make it a family affair instead
of
> >> spending $40 on a night at the movies. Wouldn't that activity be a
> > step
> >> closer to replenishing the stock of taxonomists?
> >>
> >> David P. Shorthouse
> >> ------------------------------------------------------
> >> Department of Biological Sciences
> >> CW-403, Biological Sciences Centre
> >> University of Alberta
> >> Edmonton, AB   T6G 2E9
> >> mailto:dps1 at ualberta.ca
> >> http://canadianarachnology.webhop.net
> >> http://arachnidforum.webhop.net
> >> http://www.spiderwebwatch.org
> >> ------------------------------------------------------
> >>
> >>
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> >> [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Richard
> > Zander
> >> Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2007 2:51 PM
> >> To: David Patterson; Donat Agosti; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> >> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] encylopedia of life
> >>
> >> David Patterson:
> >>
> >> You have taxonomists on the Team! That's wonderful. I am willing to
> > bet,
> >> however, that you don't have more than 100, much less one per
family.
> >> Unless
> >> you are not paying them, and the buy-in involves their "spare time"
as
> >> contributed by institution heads on the Team.
> >>
> >> It's not exactly money alone that we taxonomists are grumpy about.
> > Those
> >> who
> >> have jobs already have money. It is how university deans see
> > biodiversity
> >> research versus, say, DNA research. One (doing EoL pages) is
unfunded,
> > the
> >> other brings in lots of indirect costs.
> >>
> >> The EoL as presently conceived will encourage and accelerate the
loss
> > of
> >> taxonomists at our universities. University deans would do well to
> > hire
> >> WWW
> >> Biodiversity Project Heads because those positions seem well
funded.
> >>
> >> "EoL is not a funding agency." It should be.
> >>
> >> R. Zander
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Taxacom mailing list
> > Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> > http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
> >
> >





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