[Taxacom] the decline of taxonomy in N.Z.: a further example
stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Fri Feb 26 16:42:19 CST 2010
Thanks Geoff for that interesting clarification. I beg to differ slightly on the conclusions that you draw from it, however. The quote "More work is needed to determine whether the New Zealand species is new..." can be interpreted as lobbying for funding to do that work, but to my knowledge (which may be <6 months out of date), no such funding has been granted (at least that was the situation as told to me verbally by a person directly involved about 6 months ago). My grasp of the details here are not clearly flawed, and this isn't a "battle" as such, just an observation on what I perceive to be a definite shift away from taxonomy in this country at least. The fact that "sciencelearn site seems to have it wrong" hardly reflects badly on me! The article clearly states "However, Dr Gadgil reports that the fungus is in fact Phytophthora heveae and was first found in New Zealand in 1972 by scientists from the FRI (Scion) in a small patch of dying kauri
saplings on Great Barrier Island". You have correctly noticed that they are confusing "new" with "undescribed" - a common mistake in my experience. Still, if they had prioritised the taxonomic clarification/naming of this thing appropriately, all this confusion could have been avoided. This is in part why we need "official taxonomic names"...
From: Geoff Read <gread at actrix.gen.nz>
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Sent: Fri, 26 February, 2010 9:14:01 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] the decline of taxonomy in N.Z.: a further example
>>> Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz> 02/26/10 5:42 PM >>>
"Actually, I seem to have broadcast this Phytophthora case just 2 weeks
too late - this report
dated 08 February 2010, suggests that it has now been identified as a
described species. Still, when it was thought to be new, there were no
plans to described it ..."
No, you're still on track that it hasn't been id'd as a described species.
That sciencelearn site seems to have it wrong. They say "Dr Gadgil reports
that the fungus is in fact Phytophthora heveae" However, the person they
quote (Peter Gadgil) is just indicating it is not a new _occurrence_. If
you check here in the source newsletter (Oct 2009) [
] you will still see this:
"More work is needed to determine whether the New Zealand species is new
and until that decision is made, an informal name, Phytophthora ‘taxon
Agathis’ is being used (for full details see Beever et al. 2009)."
And: "New Zealand isolates were identical [to each other] and close to but
DISTINCT from the Malaysian P. heveae.
So Stephen, as it now appears you hadn't that much grasp of the details of
the case when you claimed that "nobody will fund the taxonomy of the
Phytophthora to give it an official name!" (a difficult statement to prove
by the way), the advice to choose your battles carefully as given in Ken
Kinman's response applies with full force.
Geoffrey B. Read, Ph.D.
Wellington, NEW ZEALAND
gread at actrix.gen.nz
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